Thursday, June 26, 2008

Squishing Aphids

This is H.R. Mount Fuji-Toad (don't ask)
He(?) is the latest addition to the aphid/mosquito eating gold fish

I squish aphids or shake 'em into the fish pond

A magic concoction of dish soap, chili pepper and a sprinkling of aphids in the blender was made into a spray for my plants with aphids. This was always followed by blending up a strawberry daiquiri for myself - I figured the alcohol in the strawberry daiquiris would disinfect the blender - hiccup.
Hmm I wonder if Saskatoon berries would make a tasty daiquiri stay tuned for that one when the berries are ready for picking.

Ladybugs To The Rescue
I am proud to say the Town of Langford (where I live) is attacking aphids with Ladybugs and not pesticides - Hurray! "Hughes expects the initial ladybug batch to last a few weeks, depending on predation from birds and wasps. It’s a relatively cheap method of pest control, with 35,000 ladybugs going for $87."

I would like to try the ladybug/ladybird (depending where you hail from) solution, too.

Daiquiri sipping deck view from the Garden Brae

This year I have not been watering the garden so as to study what grows well without using up water. Even here, on the West Coast, we have watering restrictions. Less water has created more stressed plants with aphids. Which equated alot more blender potions and therefore a lot more daiquiris...

View of Douglas-fir above said daiquiri sipping head on sundeck
the hyphen is because the Douglas-fir is not a truly a fir tree

... A lot more daiquiris resulted in an episode of stumbling boisterous tree hugging inspired by reading Beverly Nichols' Merry Hall whereby he states the interesting contradiction that dead wood feels warm while live wood feels cold. This experiment must be carried out on warm evening. Hence, dear, gentle neighbours who may have witnessed/heard my groping and stroking of trees in the night, be not alarmed. I am not crazy - but merely a tipsy gardener.
The moral of this story is: Squishing aphids with my fingers and feeding them to the gold fish is now my weapon of choice - sans-blender concoctions pour moi.


Mary Ann Archibald said...

Have you tried hanging some banana peels on/under/near your plants that have aphids? I tried it -- it works very well. (save your blender for your Daiquiri mixing). :)

Anonymous said...

Your blog is a real beauty and interesting.

Aphids secrete sweet sticky honeydew stuff that ants LOVE and (this is really crazy) the ants will actually farm and protect the aphids to be sure they get a plentiful source of honeydew! Isn't that wild! If you see ants on your roses you got aphids and before you know it the ants are making a line to your daiquairi!

Keep on bloggin cuz I love your posts!

Bottoms-up from down under!

West Coast Island Gardener said...

Mary Ann,
YUMMMM Banana Daiquiris (lol) - thanks for the idea.

Very interesting about the ants what clever little creatures they are.

Philip Bewley said...

Yes, ants farm scale, too. Control the ants and you can contol that, too.
This was a delightful post. Daquaries, "Merry hall"( he is kind of acerbic but witty and I have most of his books)and that view!!!
keep on blogging!

chey said...

Those daiquiris sound very tasty:)! Aphids on the other hand are quite the pesky little characters.I use a homemade concoction as well with dish detergent ,oil, and water, which is very effective at keeping them under control. Ladybugs sound like a great alternative, although I have wondered if the imported ladybugs are those that compete with the native ladybugs in the area.

plant student said...

The ladybugs you can purchase for aphid control are not native to the west coast (I think they are from Asia). So I'm on the fence as to which is better--store bought lady bugs or insecticidal soaps like Safers, home made recipecs, etc. that are apparently OK for the environment. The thing about using even home made pest controls that seem benign is they often kill any beneficial insects as well as the pests. The best thing is to encourage ladybugs by growing plants that attract them (dill, etc) and TO BE PATIENT! If there are aphids, the ladybugs will come. I have a cherry tree in my back yard where ants farm aphids, and just when I thought my cherry crop was doomed, ladybugs to the rescue! They laid their little orange eggs and hatched hundreds of larvae--which eat even more aphids than their parents.

Now I'm the happy host to a healthy ecosystem in my own back yard (and hopefully, the little critters will stick around to tackle any other aphid problems I may encounter). Strong blasts of water on aphid clusters repeated every couple of days can usually clear a plant of them without harming other bugs.

Squishing, of course, is also effective, and perhaps even therapeutic?

Viooltje said...

Tasty!!! Those little aphids are a total pain in the arse. I hate those little buggers and I know the moment I see ants going up my plants, the little devils and their honeydew must be nearby.

How's Princess Oberon doing?

Btw, just wanted to let you know you have been tagged, once again, on a completely different occasion ;-)


Rosehaven Cottage said...

I really like the photo of the douglas fir. The textures and the layers are so intriguing! I came over by way of Blotanical. So glad I did.

Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

West Coast Island Gardener said...

Philip - I do find Beverly's garden books a delight. I can't help enjoying them inspite of his his cranky, misogynist comments - his warmth comes through. Haven't read his non-garden books though I understand they are quite acerbic, too.

West Coast Island Gardener said...

Hello Chey -
Thanks for raising that question. I assumed (and you know what Benny Hill said about assume) the Ladybugs would be native. I emailed The Langord City Hall after reading your comment with a couple of questions about their Ladybugs and the native vs alien impact. I am awaiting their response and will post it.
* * *
Hello Plant Student -
Again, like Chey, your comment is so welcomed and has made me thought deeper and come out simpler and wiser regarding Aphids.
Healthy eco-system awareness is a hot media topic and the seemingly "environmental safe solutions" touted are'nt always what they seem. You awakened my wisdom with your knowledge. I am back to squishing aphids ( I hope St.Peter won't stop me at the Pearly Gates for killing them with glee-tainted with a bit of guilt.
* * *
Hello Violet, (my Croation neighbour -for that is how everyone feels that visits your blog - that I LOVE to visit and have missed while I have been off the computer the past few weeks)
Thank you for the tag (I am learning the blogging lingo)

Oberon is getting better and doesn't understand why we keep trying to keep her still. Poor thing is so bored, at least she loves the ants. She will follow one around on the sundeck for something to do.
Yes, ants and aphids are little devils - maybe St.Peter will be ok with me squishing them after all.
* * *
Cindy, thanks so much for saying hello. Your Rosehaven Cottage
is a paradise complete with nooks and crannies of floral delights.

West Coast Island Gardener said...

Hi Cindy,

Glad you liked the photo of the Douglas fir. There is a beautiful little spider in the photo as well. It has the same colouring and shape as the young pine cone segments it is sitting on so it is tricky but quite lovely to see.

Laura said...

I used ladybugs one year on my garden. I have been lucky enough not to encounter the same abundance of aphids as I came across that year. Usually my hose shakes them off.

You have a lovely blog