Sunday, January 22, 2012
Aphid Pest Control
Q: I'm a little worried about my artichoke plants as they were attacked by aphids. Can you give me any suggestions for my artichokes so I don't have a bad harvest this year?
A: There are many causes for aphids; such as ant population and thick plant growth. Aphids cluster under the artichoke leaves starting at the tip and often burrow into the cracks of the artichoke stems.
Fertilizing and Weather
Over fertilization in slow growth months also attract aphids. Aphids are often worse in the cool months and less severe in the summer months. Ants protect aphids from their natural enemies. So if you have a large population of aphids there is most likely a nest of ants close by. Trim back leaves that are severely infected and discard into a sealed plastic bag. Although they can cause leaf cure, aphids rarely kill plants and can simply be washed off with water. However, from my experience – washed aphids simply jump right back on valued plants. When there is a large number of aphids, they can be eliminated with insecticide soap. There are affordable organic insecticides available at any hardware nursery garden center.
Treat with Lady Bugs
The aphids’ natural enemies are lacewings, soldier beetles, mini-wasps, and ladybugs. Ladybugs EAT and devour aphids and can be purchased online and at Osh Hardware Store. They are very effective. When you receive your lady bugs, place them in a cool dark place – such as the refrigerator. Scatter 1/3rd around your artichoke plant. Repeat for the following three nights.
UC IPM (2011). How to Manage Pests. Pests in Gardens and Landscapes. Aphids. University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. Retrieved January 22, 2012 from http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7404.html