Aphid Hell
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Bruce Polchies
Posted on: April 8, 1998

Can you help us out? We have an extreme problem with aphids. Is there something you can recommend that will get rid of them? Last summer the ground and everything under the trees were covered in the waste material of these pesky critters.

We are located in Vancouver and the problem really does not start until about mid to late June.

The aphids are probably present in smaller numbers much earlier in the year and only the absence of natural enemies allows their numbers to increase unchecked. Most predators are much more easily killed than than the pest species, because the enemies are present in much smaller numbers. Therefore, by using pesticides you could actually end up causing an increase in the pest numbers, because you exterminated the predators, but some of the much more numerous pests survived to proliferate in the now predator free environment. The relatively small yards in city subdivisions result in partial kill of pests and all too often total kill of predators in the yard of the sprayer as well as the yards of his neighbours.

Since aphids are the favourite food of ladybugs, I would suggest that you purchase half a pint of ladybugs and release them in your garden during the evening of the day you receive them. If you purchase them from us they will arrive early to mid-June and will find sufficient food to keep them in your yard and lay lots of eggs there. The little black larvae that hatch from the eggs are even more voraceous aphid eaters.

If the aphid problem gets intolerable before the ladybugs arrive, you could spray with pyrethrum soap spray, once every three days for at least three sprayings. The day before the ladybugs are to be released, spray everything down with water to make sure no poisons will kill your little helpers.

Both pyrethrum soap spray and lady bugs are available from our online catalogue(http://www.richters.com) under catalogue numbers T2212 and T2500 respectively.

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