The aphid problem
Aphids are common in almost any growing system, traditional soil, greenhouse, or indoor farm. It’s very hard to keep them out. One way or another, they get into your greenhouse, and when they do, they spread quickly, damaging crops and spreading disease.
Aphids feed on plant fluids, damaging leaves and often carrying plant diseases with them (they’re like fleas for plants). Their rapid reproduction makes them difficult to anticipate and control.
Aphids can reproduce both sexually (male and female, the birds and bees—you know the drill) as well asexually when the females clone themselves. This proliferation is even more amazing than you might think; not only are female aphids able to reproduce a new female aphid every twenty minutes but the “baby” aphids often already have clones inside them. Three generations of aphids inside one aphid body are not just incredible but, for growers, incredibly annoying. Aphids spread through crops quickly.
How to deal with aphids: initial reaction
Here are your options:
Soap controls are typically very safe, but they can’t be used alone. We’ve used Safer Soaps with some impact.
Biological Control with Neem oils and soap water mix
Making own Biological pesticide :
Sunflower oil or groundnut oil ( need 2 cups -Tea cup is 150 ml so take 300 ml oil) ,2. dish washing liquid (VIM) [ 1/2 cup -75 ml] .
Mix the above solution in one bottle and use that solution as pesticide ( 3 ml per liter) in one liter water and spray on plants at early morning or evenings
Pyrethrin products like Pyganic are pretty effective.
You can use some “big guns” like Marathon, which is a systemic pesticide that will knock out aphids like nobody’s business. If you do this, you MUST check to make sure that: a) it’s legal in your area b) you have diligently read the label and followed all instructions there.
Remember! Pesticides are constantly changing and developing, and the use of pesticides is *legally constrained through pesticide labels. For the most up-to-date recommendations, talk to a university extension agent near you. Extensions are listed online and are dedicated to working with farmers like yourself.
If you’re dealing with an extreme infestation, (70–100% infestation with medium to high severity of infestation) you’re best off just taking the crops out, completely sanitizing everything, and starting over.
With a terrible infestation, your produce won’t be salable, and it’s unlikely that you’ll get aphids under control. If you get rid of crops, sanitize, and start new crops, you’re looking at a month or so of delay (depending on whether your seedlings are separate). Keep the infected crops and battle aphids with controls, and it could be months before you’re producing at acceptable levels again.
How to deal with aphids: long-term management
Long-term management of any pest depends only partly on the methods we employ when we are cued by high pest populations. The larger overall strategy to manage pests over a long term period leans on best practices. These best practices are born in IPM strategy, a pest management approach that uses all possible means—physical, chemical, cultural and/or biological—to keep pest populations at bay.
This means building a plan that combines compatible controls, maintaining pest control schedules, and following the four rules of IPM. You should have a pest control plan that includes regular monitoring, application of controls, and evaluation of the plan. Monitoring is key to the long-term effectiveness of a pest management plan.