lake_tuna
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Aphids or mites infestation on my herb plants

I have baby herb plants growing at the moment, and today I noticed dozens of these little insects on my rectangular pot (outdoor). I keep reading about soap solution, but I don't understand what the correct soap to use. Some say NOT to use dish soap, while others say use it. I'm also not sure about the proportions.. Can someone help me make a home remedy to I can take of this today?

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Kisal
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Ivory soap is usually okay, I think, although I believe an unscented Castile soap is best. Then you can be sure you have real soap, not some kind of detergent. Whatever you use, read the label carefully. A lot of the things we refer to as "soap" are really detergents.

It doesn't matter if you use a solid bar of soap or a liquid soap. You can just dissolve a few shavings from a bar of soap in some water. My personal preference, though, is unscented Dr. Bronner's liquid soap, but I don't know if it's available everywhere.

You only need about 1 to 2 teaspoonfuls of soap to a quart of water. If you're using a solid soap, you might want to let the shavings soak overnight in the water to soften, then shake it up to mix it.

Spray your plant thoroughly, completely wetting the tops and undersides of all the leaves. Be careful to get all sides of the stems, too. Respray once every 7 to 10 days, to kill any new bugs that hatch from eggs that might be on the plant. Four successive sprayings is usually enough to eliminate any infestation. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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rainbowgardener
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Good answer (as usual!) from Kisal. As far as the aphids or mites are concerned detergent or soap will work against them, but detergent can be harmful to the plants you spray it on.

Dishwashing liquid is confusing because some is soap, but most is detergent. If your bottle says dishwashing liquid, it is detergent. If it is actual soap, it will say so on it. I use Dr. Bronner's too; it is pretty widely available. Murphy's oil soap is another choice.
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z
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Why not just plant nasturtiums in strategic places, to act as a trap crop and divert the insects from your herbs? It works every time for me.

lake_tuna
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I've never heard of nasturtiums. Reading about them now makes me think that they would be great. I have my herb plants in a rectangular pot that's about.. maybe 30x12. Can I put a pot and plant nasturtiums next to that? I'm not sure if that will be close enough or what size pot to use.

z
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I would have thought so. I tend to use 2 or 3 small pots of nasturtiums to deflect aphids etc from the plants within a few metres or so. Local parks and floral displays have them dotted around or forming borders to attract pests away from other plants. They are one of several popular "trap crops" used to good effect, but I find they can be quite short-lived and need care in heavy rains or winds. They are also very pretty plants, and every part of them is edible.

Good luck.

lake_tuna
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How often do they come back? I live in Southern California.

z
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Sorry Laketuna, what do you mean - the nasturtiums or the aphids?

In the case of the nasturtiums, they are, unfortunately for our purposes here, an annual plant so there is no chance of a return bloom. They are, however, reliably self-seeding, and I have found when growing from seed that they will grow quite prolifically: of seeds sown indoors earlier this year, every one developed.

As for the aphids, they will keep on coming back, and you will need an arsenal of trap crops to fend them off entirely and keep them happilly away. Sometimes pests just have tobe accepted - I grow many of my plants to sell, and I always account for several losses due to pests, which I see as merely nature taking something back for herself.

Take care not to confuse the nasturtiums we are talking about (Tropaeolum genus) with the other Nasturtium genus, a kind of watercress. The ones we want are here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropaeolum
Trapaeolum is easy to remember as it sounds like "trap," which is appropriate.

lake_tuna
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z wrote:Sorry Laketuna, what do you mean - the nasturtiums or the aphids?
I was talking about the nasturtiums. I treated my pots wit some soap solution, and the buggers seems to have disappeared for now. I'll check out Home Depot for nasturtiums this week!

The Helpful Gardener
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Ladybugs and lady bug larvae are the natural enemies of aphids; purchase some and release them on the plants in question...

HG
Scott Reil

lake_tuna
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The Helpful Gardener wrote:Ladybugs and lady bug larvae are the natural enemies of aphids; purchase some and release them on the plants in question...

HG
Hm, actually I read about the lady bug method. Do they stick around though?
I just got into gardening.

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Troppofoodgardener
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ladybirds

When I first established my garden, (June 2010) I only saw a few random ladybirds. Since planting some veggies and fruit plants, the ladybirds have hatched larvae and there are now lots in the garden.

Although it is widely said that ladybirds get rid of aphids, I have never actually seen one eat ANYthing! Except for my lemongrass leaves that is..

However, has anyone personally seen ladybirds eating aphids? (and have pics to prove it)
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Sage Hermit
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Originally posted by z
which I see as merely nature taking something back for herself.


That is a beautiful statement. I see it that way too.
You can solve all your problems in a garden/laboratory.

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lilcee
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I know this is an old post but I was looking for ways to get rid of my aphid problem. They are destroying my peas. They are all over them and when I touch the peas, I get them all over me. I have nasturtiums planted next to the peas but they are not flowering yet so I don't think they are working towards the aphids. Last year I tried lady bugs but they all either died or flew away. I think it was too hot when I got them. I've sprayed neem on the peas but it didn't seem to do much. This morning I used the hose and sprayed them good and there were thousands of the bugs on the ground. I think we may need to attack them with something stronger.

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rainbowgardener
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If the bugs jump on to you, they are probably not aphids. Aphids are plant juice suckers. So they have their proboscis or whatever stuck into the plant and they just sit there. If you have aphids, one thing you can do is just squish them. Take a kleenex or whatever and just squish all the aphids. They will just sit there and let you do it and won't go anywhere.

The soapy water solution works on a number of soft bodied insects, doesn't do much against anything hard shelled like beetles. Garlic pepper spray works against a number of insects.

If they are jumping off, it might be flea beetles. Do they leave a bunch of little holes like this:

[img]https://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/images/M1210-4-lg.jpg[/img]

If not, when you say destroying the peas, what kind of damage do they leave?

It helps to identify what you have to know what to do about it.

If you want ladybugs to stay in your garden, release them in the evening or early AM while it is cool. Water the plants first, so there is water available for them. You can even put row cover over your plants and release them under the row cover.
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lilcee
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I'll try to get some pics of the peas. They don't have holes in the leaves, they are turning brown. The bugs are tiny green bugs.

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rainbowgardener
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OK.. tiny green bugs and no holes does sound like aphids.

If so you can just squish them or do the soapy water treatment. Use soap (like Ivory or Dr Brunner's) not detergent which can sometimes damage plants.
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Kisal
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It's a good idea to repeat the soap treatment every 5 to 7 days, for about a month to 6 weeks. Even then, aphids are just a part of the environment, IMO. I watch my plants for them on a daily basis, and as soon as I see anything like aphids, I wash off my plants with a spray of plain water. It doesn't kill the aphids, but it gets them off my plants.
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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lilcee
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I'll post some pics in another thread so I don't take over this one since it's for something other than herbs.

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MrGreen
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has anyone personally seen ladybirds eating aphids? (and have pics to prove it)
although I didn't take pics, I have personally seen it, and you can certainly find numerous videos of it on youtube --
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jP2DvcFfrg

The thing to remember about biological controls such as aphids is that they will keep the aphid population under control, but they will not ELIMINATE aphids. That would be like humans making cows or chickens extinct because we ate every last one.

I whole-heartedly agree with z, and could not have said it better myself:
Sometimes pests just have tobe accepted - I grow many of my plants to sell, and I always account for several losses due to pests, which I see as merely nature taking something back for herself.
When I grow food I plant some for myself and my friends, and some for the unexpected visitors (be they rabbits, aphids, raccoons, caterpillars, or homeless vagrants). I'm not sure how best to explain it, but to me it all fits in with nature's great abundance and the joy of giving and receiving. We become rich by creating massive value for those around us (our environment, if you will). This is true both spiritually and financially, and it holds true both in the garden and in life.
My Urban Organic Gardening (and Food) Blog -- https://www.greenthumbcity.com/

cavino
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Re:

Kisal wrote:Ivory soap is usually okay, I think, although I believe an unscented Castile soap is best. Then you can be sure you have real soap, not some kind of detergent. Whatever you use, read the label carefully. A lot of the things we refer to as "soap" are really detergents.

It doesn't matter if you use a solid bar of soap or a liquid soap. You can just dissolve a few shavings from a bar of soap in some water. My personal preference, though, is unscented Dr. Bronner's liquid soap, but I don't know if it's available everywhere.

You only need about 1 to 2 teaspoonfuls of soap to a quart of water. If you're using a solid soap, you might want to let the shavings soak overnight in the water to soften, then shake it up to mix it.

Spray your plant thoroughly, completely wetting the tops and undersides of all the leaves. Be careful to get all sides of the stems, too. Respray once every 7 to 10 days, to kill any new bugs that hatch from eggs that might be on the plant. Four successive sprayings is usually enough to eliminate any infestation. :)
I already happen to have some Dr Bronner's liquid soap under my sink, but it's mint scented. Can I use this or will the mint scent cause problems?

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