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Hey all, I have had the worse time with aphids this month and can't seem to win the battle. I started with just trying to wash them off, went to worm tea twice a day, then with missing two days spraying, I was worse that I was before I started. I ordered lady bugs, let 500 go inside my green house, (12 X 16 ft)

I released them at night, by day two they where all gone, the lady bugs that is. I thought I was fairly well sealed, still can not figure out where they got out. 

I am ordering more ladybugs as well as green lacewings, but for now I am going back to the worm tea. 

My question is could the worm tea have killed or ran my ladybugs off? 

The aphids are worse now than ever, it's like they are getting even with me... :(  they are winning. 

Any ideas anyone on what I can do to kill the aphids, and keep the lady bugs happy and at home. It's not like they did not have tons to eat. I read that you could spray a solution of 50% water and 50% coke on they to glue their wings shut, I did not do that. one reason is coke?? really it dissolves raw meat. 

Any ideas?

Charlotte

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Hopefully, the ladies had enough time to lay eggs. When those hatch, bye-bye aphids. I would suspend using the worm tea for a couple of days to give them time, but I don't know that they are repelled or killed by it.

From what I see there are maybe 20 lady bugs left. I did see what looked like mating, but like I said in two days the ladybugs where all gone.  :(. 

My new ladybugs will not be here for 5 days. What do I do until then? 

   Charlotte

 

You should be able to spot the ladybug eggs (farmer's golden eggs), mostly laid and hidden by momma on the bottom sides of leaves. Then avoid those while wiping aphids from the other leaves with a soft damp tissue. I use plain alcohol to soak the tissue and rinse with clean water in the dirt garden. Have never needed to in AP but probably would unless someone warned me not to.

I have seen most eggs hatch within 4 days. I guess some will in 3 and others might take 3 weeks depending on species and weather.

Here's a pretty neat video of the process. time lapse photos actually.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daOBpw4-jXA&feature=player_detai...

:) I found 3 sets of eggs, funny how the little things make me so happy. 

For now I will try and keep up with cleaning the leaves, no worm tea, and pray my new ladybugs get here soon. 

Thanks for all your input.

Hi,

 Sorry about your aphid, troubles.  Hopefully I can shed some light on the worm tea situation.  I am only able to address this based on the info. you have given me though.   

    Worm castings naturally contain chitinase, which is an enzyme.  The bodes of insects are made up of chitin.  When the enzymes come in contact with the insects it begins to attack their bodies.  This is why it works on bugs.  Worm casting tea needs to be made from worm castings, not worm compost (meaning you should be using pure castings), and they should be moist, not dry, and not have been stored in an air-tight container..  To fight off insects and plant maladies it needs to be made strong enough, and be made with non-chlorinated water.  You should be using 2/3 cup castings for every gallon of water.  The best tea is the stuff that is brewed.  That means using an aerator (fish tank bubbler) if you do not have one of the expensive brewers on the market.  Add 2 Tbsp of sugar (not honey) per gallon of water.  Let it brew for about 24 hours.  Apply right away to all plant surfaces.  (this is the short versin - if you want more details you can do a search for Freshly Brewed Worm Casting Tea on this site, and you will find I have posted the details a few times here and there on this forum).

    Yes, your lady bugs will also be sensitive to the  tea, which may be why they are gone. My best to you in your efforts to get rid of those aphids!  If you have any further questions, please let me know.

- Converse

 ALso, after you apply the tea, do not spray your plants with anything else, or you will wash off what you just applied.

hope this helps.

- Converse

Charolotte, there is NOTHING more enjoyable than watching nature kick some abdomen for you :D

Charlotte Seibert said:

:) I found 3 sets of eggs, funny how the little things make me so happy. 

For now I will try and keep up with cleaning the leaves, no worm tea, and pray my new ladybugs get here soon. 

Thanks for all your input.

I didn't know that worm castings contained an insect killing enzyme. Where did you learn about this?

Also, if you brew your tea with worm compost instead of castings, you will still be inoculating beneficial bacteria in your leaf surfaces, which act as competition for pests like aphids.



Converse said:

Hi,

 Sorry about your aphid, troubles.  Hopefully I can shed some light on the worm tea situation.  I am only able to address this based on the info. you have given me though.   

    Worm castings naturally contain chitinase, which is an enzyme.  The bodes of insects are made up of chitin.  When the enzymes come in contact with the insects it begins to attack their bodies.  This is why it works on bugs.  Worm casting tea needs to be made from worm castings, not worm compost (meaning you should be using pure castings), and they should be moist, not dry, and not have been stored in an air-tight container..  To fight off insects and plant maladies it needs to be made strong enough, and be made with non-chlorinated water.  You should be using 2/3 cup castings for every gallon of water.  The best tea is the stuff that is brewed.  That means using an aerator (fish tank bubbler) if you do not have one of the expensive brewers on the market.  Add 2 Tbsp of sugar (not honey) per gallon of water.  Let it brew for about 24 hours.  Apply right away to all plant surfaces.  (this is the short versin - if you want more details you can do a search for Freshly Brewed Worm Casting Tea on this site, and you will find I have posted the details a few times here and there on this forum).

    Yes, your lady bugs will also be sensitive to the  tea, which may be why they are gone. My best to you in your efforts to get rid of those aphids!  If you have any further questions, please let me know.

- Converse

Hi,

This information is published in the research from Ohio State Univ. Soils Lab and also Soil Foodweb Lab in Corvalis,OR...so you do not have to take my word for it...I do my best to keep up in the current research since it is my business - vermiculture and vermicomposting. There is always more to learn. It is my pleasure to help out fellow AP enthusiasts with this info..

- Converse

It would also seem that in addition to chitanase producing micro-organisms being present in some worm castings teas, there has been some interesting research to explore the role of phenolic compounds, in castings and teas, that act as insect anti-feedants. Some of these phenolic compounds seem to retard the reproduction and fecundancy of some pests.

There was a cool study done in 1963...then a big lull in that arena (research) until just a few years ago (2008-9). You should be able to dig it up on the net Alex...If not PM me :)

The only success I've had with Aphid control has been Aphidius Colemmani parasitic wasps. They lay their eggs in aphids and new wasps hatch and go on to lay more eggs in more aphids. They take a few weeks to get the problem under control, but they they keep it managed through through the whole season. They don't overwinter in my greenhouse, but it does freeze in there in the winter. I introduce them each spring. I get them from https://hydro-gardens.com/product-category/beneficials/aphids/, and have been very happy. 

My system is infested w/aphids, too. I've sprayed w/neem oil, wiped plants, etc. but the critters live in the media, too!! Couple months ago, I took out the top 4" of media and washed it, washed off all the plants I could remove w/out damage and sprayed the rest. My system is in my apt. so buying ladybugs isn't practical. Any suggestions?? Unfortunately, a plant I purchased and added to my system several months ago was infested and I didn't realize it.  BEWARE of buying plants to add unless you wash it thoroughly. I've taken to spraying the media w/neem oil. Will that damage the biofilter?  Water has a nice balance and plants were very happy before this invasion.

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