Saturday, June 03, 2006


APHID REVOLUTION


A few evenings ago I sprayed Aphid Vegas with the wormwood, garlic and chili insecticide I'd received from a friend, but being at work during the daylight since, had to wait till this morning to observe the devastating effect on the sybaritic orgy; I got quite a surprise.

As I bent over to look closely, I beheld not Aphid Armageddon but the Aphid Riviera, crowded with plump and prosperous aphids strolling the leafy avenues or lolling in thongs and shades on the sunny green beaches of my broadbean plants, reading Da Aphid Code as their fat ant overlords moved among them, hustling production for their next blockbuster. It was aphid decadence, and as beanlord I am at a loss. All my natural insecticide has done is get the ants stretch limos and the aphids designer beachwear and bestsellers.

Its not that I want zero aphids, or even aphid ghettos, we all have to make a decent living and support a family. What I would like to do is maybe start an aphid revolution, in which the green underlings overthrow the despotic ants and start a small but prosperous community of their own, with their own leaders - ethnic roots are important - so that they can find their own place to live, other than in broadbean tyranny. But as in the human world, the plump do not revolt.

I know the ants defend the whole racket as a trade off, but it's just the old protection racket writ small; that's how Mussolini got his start, to say nothing of the mafia... As for the ants, they can get jobs anywhere. Anybody have some aphid propaganda on tape, some tiny loudspeakers? Or maybe I could airdrop some nanoleaflets and nanoarmaments, foment an aphid resistance, headquartered in a mountain stronghold of noxious weeds across the road.

But all that takes time. First I want my beans.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Companion planting: Lavender to repel aburamushi! (Says the wife)

Richard S. (Awajishima)

naplesred said...

There's always this to consider: "The FDA considers forty to sixty aphids in a serving of brussels sprouts to be perfectly acceptable." ...from the book Tiny Game Hunting by Klein and Wenner, Univ. of Calif. Press. Not sure how many for beans.

Joycelyn said...

Have you tried ladybugs? They used to control the aphid on my roses a treat, in the days before I lived on the side of a wild mountain and actually tended to plants.

Winston said...

Everytime I have tried "natural" remedies and methods, they either backfire and yield opposite from desired results, or do nothing at all. So in desperation, I usually end up fouling the environment ... or give up and lose my tomatoes, or whatever...

Joy Des Jardins said...

Leaflets,loudspeakers...haha..STOP!Hey, have you tried reasoning with them? If anyone can do it, you can. My money's on you.

Chancy said...

This worked on slugs eating my Hostas but I cannot vouch for success with aphids. It may be worth a try.

Cut a beer can in half. (First drink the beer) Add more beer to beer can halves. Place cans 3/4 filled with beer under plant. Slugs will be attracted by the beer and slither up side of can and plop into can and beer. After an orgy of beer drinking the slugs will expire.
I hope this works on aphids. If not, try some Jack Daniels and you will no longer care what the aphids do.

Robert Brady said...

Jack Daniels. Just what the problem needs. Poured straight over a fresh sprig of mint topping off crushed ice atop a bunch of mint buds first crushed in some powdered sugar and hot water. A couple of those should do it. What aphids? Thanks, folks.

samcandide said...

Epazote. Get epazote seeds, which germinate in an instant and grow like mad. They give off a substance which is absorbed by the plants around them. It makes them taste bad to aphids. I'm making that up. I don't know whether that's what happens or not. But the epazote so strengthened & stimulated the plants I accidentally let it escape into, they grew vigorously and recovered from all manner of illness and even the soil of root-rot plants became healthy and the ploants regenerated. I'd bet money this would do it.

Epazote - Chenopodium ambrosioides

Jenn said...

Try adding just a bit of dishsoap in your herbal spray. I use about a teaspoon of soap to every 16 ounces (whatever that is in metric, sorry...)

Works great on aphids, and only harms the ladybugs and others if you actually spray them. (Do keep an eye out for the hideously ugly but deadly effective ladybug larvae... you don't want to spray them if they are present.)

The soap, landing on and coating the bugs, suffocates them. Sort of a low-tech dormant oil solution.

Robert Brady said...

Thanks, Jenn. Tried that along with some Jack Daniels for myself and it worked like a charm. No more aphids and everything looks great. Very rosy indeed. With beans in my future as well.

I'll definitely try those promising preventive approaches next year. Thanks, all.