from one of those online stores, or should I just use chemicals. Last year I used spray, but I don't want to use it this year because I don't want to kill the ladybugs! This year I've noticed more ladybugs on my roses than before, but it's not near enough to get rid of those darn aphids!
I was just reading that spraying with diluted or skim milk (like you do for Powdery Mildew) is an aphid deterrent.
The article said:
"Aphids may be deterred by the milk film on the leaf or attacked by aphid pathogens whose growth is
enhanced by milk sprays."
I bought lady bugs once when I first started gardening, they quickly flew off for greener pastures. The best thing to do is to grow the plants (especially wild flowers and such) that naturally draw them to your garden. And many of these are what we'd normally call "weeds." Since then, I've learned to leave some of the smaller flowering "weeds" alone to attract them naturally, and that way they sick around on their own. Having some type of water feature...even if it's just a bubbling pot helps to keep the beneficial insects around too.
But in the meantime, I agree with the other posts...soapy water is the best way to get rid of them. Especially if its the old fashioned lye soap diluted down to spraying thinness.
i've harped on this soap to the point of making everyone sick, i'm sure, but i swear by any of the Dr. Bronner's liquid soaps (any "flavor"). a tablespoon or two per gallon will kill anything. just don't spray the bees and other good guys. spray in the evening to be safest. when you're done in the garden, you can wash your hair and your dog with it...i killed every leafhopper (i had zillions) and every leaf-footed bug (hundreds) and it also killed my nemesis, the citrus root weevil. it kills on contact. unfortunately i did have to go to spinosad for a permanent removal of the weevil babies that kept coming out of the ground but that's organic too, so everybody wins and the bad guys lost. yay!
Aphids secrete a sweet substance on branches. Ants love it. Actually ants keeps aphids like cows just for that reason. They will actually place aphids on plants to produce the sweet substance for them.
So, while you get rid of the aphids, get rid of the ants also. I don't fool around, I spray with malathion and be done with it. For ants I use ant poison in granulated form. A teaspoon here and there and they take it into their nest for their last meal.
Just FYI, you shouldn't have to order ladybugs online. I have purchased them myself (along with other garden friendly bugs) from Home Depot :).
You just have to ask, sometimes they are tucked in a niche somewhere. And if you can't find them there (I saw a lady at HD with some ladybugs and asked where she'd got them there! and she said she didn't, actually bought them down the road at a nursery but didn't want them to overheat in the car!) so try a local nursery---in this case they weren't OUT because they were stored in a refridgerator so you just have to ask.
We had the same issue, we bought some at last house and they "left for greener pastures" but I almost would assume in our case it's because we didn't provide enough plants for them to enjoy so for us once the yard is more plants than grass we'll buy them again :)
If you purchase ladybugs, only release them after sun down into a freshly watered garden.
Otherwise they fly away, I don't remember why, but they do.
One more little tidbit I learned from DrDon (member here - some of you may know him)
When aphids feed, they release a pheromone that is attractive to the Ladybug. Therefore, if you make your garden a safe haven for ladybugs, they will come shortly after your aphids and there is no need to purchase them. Not only that, they will lay eggs, given proper coverage they will hybernate during the winter and wake up hungry in the spring.
To survive, ladybugs not only need protein (bugs) but they also need carbohydrates (nectar). They need flat shaped flowers like daisies and dandelions so they can easily get to the pollen. Flowers and herbs that are particularly attractive to ladybugs include, fennel, dill, cilantro, caraway, angelica, tansy, carrot, yarrow, cosmos, scented geraniums, tulips, lilies and dandelions. ( the dill, cilantro, carrot, etc must be allowed to flower)
There are 4 points to remember:
1] Release them during the day and they will all fly away.
2] Release them into a dry garden and they will all fly away.
3] Release them into a garden with no aphids to eat and they will all fly away.
4] Release them into a garden with no carbohydrate food source and they will fly away.
dove, you would love how i spent my day today. my friend pam and i went to Wonder Worm, a real worm farm. it was so interesting. we bought worm castings and worm pee, not tea, pee. they are two different things. omg, the stuff is truly black gold. i can't wait to use it.
Did you take pictures? *LOL*
I can just imagine a little worm sitting on a tiny little worm camode. Is worm pee plant food or pesticide?
I would love to see what a worm farm today looks like compared to the worm farm we had way back in the 70s.
Do they have a web site? Tell me more girl!
OK you're right you sucked me right in with that announcement...*LOL*
i didn't even think to take my camera but will do so next time. i'll try to provide a link to their website. their site doesn't seem to be working to well right now.
the worms are in these flat screen cages, not very deep, and de-chlorinated water is gently washed over them 40 or so times. the same water is recycled over and over again. worms urinate through their bodies (no specific opening like most things) so the water actually washed the urine from them. it is caught in a trough and bottled. it's so full of microbes and wonderful things and the woman was filling my head with so many new thoughts and ideas that i probably didn't catch half of it properly.
anyway, the pee is used at the rate of a third cup per gallon in a clean, preferably new, sprayer. the microbes are delicate and any chemical or soap residue will kill them. it is supposedly a superior foliar feed, anti-fungal agent, immune booster and insect deterrent.
worm tea, on the other hand, is liquid seeped from worm castings and is also very good but the pee story sold me! lol
i was telling ardesia that i had tried a Melianthus major around the time that john was so sick and hospitalized a few years back. i planted it in a bad spot, it got mucho whitefly and i was too busy to take care of it. later on i dumped it. i've been hot to try that plant again in a different spot so i bought another one and was saying that i hoped i wasn't going to have to go through the whitefly ordeal again. she suggested worm castings as a top dressing because she has had great luck in getting rid of whitefly that way. that's what got me started on my quest for worm poop and now the pee!
the castings should be put under the mulch and gently watered in. apparently these microbes are a delicate thing and sunlight will reduce the wanted effects. the urine can be used to soak seeds prior to planting too.
the urine, btw, has no smell whatsoever and the worm castings feel like silky (my friend pam's word for them) coffee grounds.
all in all, the product sounds like a combination of miracle gro, messenger, neem, etc. all rolled into one. oh happy day!
stay tuned. i found a working link. be aware that they call the pee, worm tea, but true worm tea is the leachings of the castings. the tea they sell is actually pee. confused yet? LOL http://www.ourvitalearth.com/worm-tea.htm