Thursday, July 21, 2011

Aphids and Squash Bugs

We have been infested with aphids and squash bugs this year.  Soooo sad!  I just thought I would share some of the remedies that I have been using and how they work.


Aphids on my trees, aphids on my bushes, aphids everywhere!  The most effective thing I have found against them is garlic.  I planted garlic all around both my trees and so far it seems to have helped.  A few years ago we had them all over the honey suckle in the front yard and I planted 2 cloves of garlic next to each one and never had a problem since. 

The tree's are more precious to me than the honey suckle so I planted multiple cloves around each tree.  I was fortunate that although I did not plant the garlic until late June, they are already growing.  I think they are helping.

I just need to dig the grass out a little more so my Mr. doesn't whack the tops off when he is trimming and mowing the lawn.  :)

Unfortunately, I believe I now need to add garlic to my whole yard.  I am finding what I believe are aphids less on my trees and more in my flower gardens.

Although I am not a fan of planting for the sake of planting.....I do have a particular soft spot for lilies and lilacs and roses.  As such, my garden with lily bulbs is showing the signs.  I will add the garlic soon.

Squash Bugs
These horrible little creatures serve no purpose, in my opinion, other than to make life difficult.  I cannot see how they may be useful in any way at all.  I have battled them every year for the past 3 or 4 years.
Nasturtiums are said to repel them.  I planted nasturtiums, but still got the bugs. 
The most effective measures I have found is Diatomaceous Earth sprayed on the underside of the plant leaves with a Garden Spritzer.

This looks like a water toy that your kids might want, but a little bigger around and a fancy inside of the tip to evenly dispense a mist of the DE powder.

I alternate this DE spray every 3rd or 4th day with a spraying of Neem oil.  I use a regular 1 gallon insecticide sprayer which was purchased special for the food safe products.  Neem oil is a natural product, and I don't want to be spraying with a residue of Sevin when I am not trying to.

These two methods with handpicking the nasty little buggers off and squishing their guts into the ground seems to be effective.  When it's not, out comes the Sevin.  I prefer non-chemical natural measures of control but not at the expense of my crop or at the risk of infestation the next year because the natural methods didn't work.

One year, I lost 6 huge, full grown and healthy cucumber plants to squash bugs after they finished ravaging my traditional squash plants.  Did I mention I hate squash bugs?

Another method to control these things is to plant a sacrificial crop for them.  Most common is hubbard squash.  When the plant has attracted all the bugs and is starting to be 'infested', pull it up and throw it away.

One year I planted acorn, yellow summer, zucchini, hubbard, pumpkins, cucumbers and watermelon.  For your FYI....the hubbard went first.  the acorn, pumpkins, yellow and zuch were infested next.  The acorn fell to the infestation, but although heavily infested, the yellow and zuch withstood to produce the whole year.  The pumpkin was attacked, but with intense efforts, was manageable and produced.  After the acorn went, the buggers attacked my cukes, which put up a fight and produced, but eventually fell to the bugs.  The watermelon were not touched. 
Our management efforts were the same on all plants.  I believe some plants are a little hardier than others and locations and plant growth features (how dense the leaves and stems are v. being more spread out) made the efforts effective on some plants and not on others.

Thought it was interesting, so I am sharing.  I do recommend not keeping an infested plant in the ground after the infestation is identified.  I recommend pulling and sealing in a garbage bag and sending to the dump.  This experience was the year I learned what I was dealing with and I did not do as I should partly because it wasn't till the end of the year I finally identified the little buggers.  I have had to battle infestation ever since.

Squash bug, not yet fully ugly adult.  Too close for comfort though.  Pulled off one of my zucchini plants.

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