It's aphid season!
As the summer heat explodes, this common garden pest may begin to feast on your garden. Here's how to control an aphid outbreak in your garden.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010 - 08:56
Photo: Martin Lang/Flickr
It's aphid season in Colorado. Here's a briefing on how I (seemingly) successfully managed the infestation in my garden.
I first noticed the effects of an aphid population in my garden about a week ago. They started on my tomatoes and made their way into the cucumbers. Luckily, I spotted the damage early enough — the wilted, dying leaves had already began to crumble.
I've been breaking off the dead or too-far-gone leaves since I noticed the onslaught. As an amateur gardener, I performed a Google search to identify my problem. As soon as it was diagnosed, I knew exactly how to remedy the situation. For a term last summer, I spent time building geodesic greenhouses, or growing domes, in the Rocky Mountains with Growing Spaces, LLC, a Colorado-based company in Pagosa Springs. During my time with Growing Spaces, I learned quite a bit about gardening and got to eat a lot of great garden goodies, too.
Recently, I treated the infected plants and I've already noticed a world of difference. There are many remedies for an aphid infestation available. The list includes organic sprays, homemade solutions and, my choice, ladybugs.
Using the ladybug to conquer my infestation seemed like the right thing to do. It's a one-time treatment that will benefit the entire garden for a while. Ladybugs can have an amazing effect on your garden, check out these stats:
One adult ladybug will eat up to 80 aphids or other plant pests per day
A ladybug will have about 1,500 eggs in her lifetime
The eggs will hatch into larva about one week
In the three week period a ladybug spends in the larva stage, it will eat about 400 insects
Ladybugs are easily attained at your local garden center. Most likely, they'll be prepackaged by a company that harvests them. (It's a weird thing, I'm sure, to be a ladybug farmer.) A package of 1,500 ladybugs will run you around $10 — a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes with a natural, organic method of pest control.
I've read about other effective methods for ridding your garden of aphids, but none strikes me like the use of nature. As I mentioned, organic sprays are available, as are solutions. Most spray solutions contain small amounts of vegetable oil, dish soap or garlic. The gardener must be careful with these oil-based solutions, though: if they are applied in daylight, the oil — like water will sometimes do —will magnify the sun's power and burn your plants.