for aphid control timing is critical if you want to minimize toxin use, monitor your plants closely, spray before plants start to suffer
A good product is called "Safer Soap" and it is specifically labeled for use as a pesticide. All soaps are fairly toxic to most insects. Some home remedies include using dish soap, but the advantage to using something labeled as a pesticide is you get some guarantee of effectiveness on listed bugs and specific mixing and personal safety instructions. I believe its ok for "organic gardening" but if you are going to be certified as an organic grower you'll need to check with your inspector.
ants are a different issue, they own the earth, we just fool ourselves with lawyers and paper.
Do not use contact insecticides. Even if they are labeled for use as an organic control, you will not succeed unless you get the toxin on the queen. Only 5-10% of the ants in a colony come out to forage for food. The rest have inside jobs. If you use contact pesticides, you only effect the foragers and the factory is still in operation. Baiting is the most effective control for ants. The foragers carry the poison food home. They all share and die (in concept). Of course there are exceptions. Some ants are picky eaters.
There are a few good ant baits available on the market. Combat granular is one of my favorites. I don't know if it is approvable for a organic operation. The catch 22 here is that if you don't apply it to the plants and you don't put it in the soil, then you may not be violating organic gardening pesticide standards. You can accomplish this by placing bait in a container and letting the ants take what they will. Then pick up what they dont take. I put 1 teaspoon of combat granular in a bottle lid and let the ants take it for a few hours. I watched to be sure they were taking it. When I picked it up, there was more than 3/4 left. In ten days the ants were gone. Amdro (it may be sold under a different name now) is another good bait, plus its cheap.
You also can make your own. The hardest part about making your own is to limit the toxin. Boric acid is very effective in the 1-3% by weight range. Over 5% seems to kill before the poison works through the whole colony. Its takes very little bait to kill the whole colony. A teaspoon is enough for dozens of colonies of most ants. Jellies are common bases for boric acid. Apple mint seems to be the most universal. If the ants like it and the toxin is dilute it will work. good luck gobug
Boy, I can sure sympathise with the aphid problem. Although the only plants in my garden that they seem to like are the dill and the honeysuckle, they just about want to choke them out. The Safer's Insecticidal soap works very well, but it's so expensive. I've made some homemade stuff, but I learned a couple of things along the way. NEVER use dish detergent, even if you hear it's OK. It's not. Something in there is very toxic to the plants (at least to MY plants). I spent a few extra bucks on a "natural" dish SOAP (not detergent) that has potassium hydroxide as its base. Plants like potassium. Detergents (and most other soaps, for that matter) use sodium hydroxide as the base. Plants don't like sodium. Anyway, I put a couple smashed cloves of garlic in about 2 cups of boiling water and let it steep until lukewarm, then fished out the cloves and put in several drops of this natural dish soap, mixed it up and put it in a spray bottle. It worked well, but I had to use several applications - it wasn't as strong as the Safer's. Maybe I needed to add a bit more soap...
As for the ants, I've found that mixing some ground oregano in water and spraying it around where you don't want them to be, will keep them away. Again, you'll have to reapply every few days or after it rains, but they seem to be repelled by the taste/smell of the oregano, so it's an effective repellant. I have fire ants here and they like to get on me when I'm in the garden (OUCH!), so I just spray the perimeter of the garden every few days with the oregano mixture and I don't have ants in there anymore.
Maybe one of these suggestions will work for you. I hope.
go to www.terro.com ......I had a bad infestation of carpenter ants and after I put some of this liquid out it took about 3 weeks before the Queen got a big mouthfull and they just faded away. It contains Borax in a clear, very sweet solution and they collect it and return to feed the Queen and she dies and walla ....no mo ants. The chemical guy wanted a 1,000 and contract for a return visit..................fordy
Get some bright yellow plastic bowls and put about 1/2" of water in the bottom; the aphids are attracted to the color and drown in the water. I found this trick out when little depressions formed in my plastic mulch and the rainwater collected yellow pollen. At the time I was concerned about the aphid problem, but two days later they were ALL gone.
The ants will probably lose interest in your garden when the aphids and their honeydew disappear.
Nice work on the article you wrote. There is a new product on the market that is a combination of diatomaceous earth and organic pyrethrin. The best thing about the product is that it is a wettable powder. This means you add a scoop to a gallon and use your garden sprayer. It allows you to put a very thin coat on both top and bottom leaf surfaces. Instead of using a cup on a single plant, a tablespoon is spread evenly across the surfaces of the target plants.
I consider these "safe" products, but the federal government has recently defined what organic means in order to standardize the term and allow for growers to all have the same criteria. I have not seen these new rules and don't know what chemicals are on their list. I suspect that organic pyrethrin is still there. Diatomaceous earth may also be on the list. If its important to you, check it out with local extention agent. Organic pyrethrin breaks down in 24 hours. Diatomaceous earth doesn't break down.
Using a contact kill chemical like diatomaceous earth is not very effective against ants. Its like fixing a drip by putting the bucket below. Judging success by counting ants on the plants is not related to the ant population, its related to the aphid population. Its works great on aphids though. Eliminate the aphids and the ants look elsewhere. gobug
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