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Aphids and Spider Mites

Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that can cause significant damage to garden plants by sucking the sap from their leaves, stems, and flowers. Fortunately, there are several ways to control aphids in the garden:

(Black aphids on grape vine)

  1. Blast them off with water: Use a strong spray of water to blast the aphids off the plants. This method is effective for small infestations.

  2. Use castile soap: Castile soap is a natural and effective way to control aphids. Mix one tablespoon of soap in a gallon of water and spray onto the affected plants.

  3. Use neem oil: Neem oil is a natural insecticide that can control aphids. Mix two tablespoons of neem oil with one gallon of water and spray the solution onto the affected plants.

  4. Introduce beneficial insects: Ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps are natural predators of aphids. You can attract these beneficial insects to your garden by planting flowers that they are attracted to, such as dill, fennel, and yarrow.

  5. Prune infested parts: If the infestation is limited to a few branches or leaves, prune them off to prevent the aphids from spreading to other parts of the plant.

  6. Dust with diatomaceous earth: Diatomaceous earth absorbs the protective waxy layer on the outer surface of insects, causing them to dehydrate. The microscopic sharp edges of the diatomaceous earth particles penetrate the insect's body, leading to the loss of moisture and essential fats. This desiccation process is effective against various pests, including ants, bedbugs, fleas, cockroaches, slugs, and beetles.

It is important to take action as soon as you notice an aphid infestation to prevent them from causing significant damage to your garden plants.

Spider mites can be a frustrating pest to deal with in the garden, but there are a few methods you can use to control their population:

(White spots are from spider mite damage)

  1. Blast them off: A strong blast of water can dislodge spider mites from the undersides of leaves. This can be an effective way to control their population, but it should be done regularly to prevent them from re-infesting the plants.

  2. Use neem oil: Neem oil is a natural pesticide that can be effective against spider mites. Mix 2 tablespoons of neem oil with 1 gallon of water and spray the affected plants, focusing on the undersides of leaves where the mites are most likely to be hiding.

  3. Introduce natural predators: Predatory mites and ladybugs are natural enemies of spider mites and can help to control their population. You can purchase these beneficial insects from gardening supply stores and release them into your garden.

  4. Prune affected leaves: If you have a severe infestation of spider mites, it may be necessary to prune away the affected leaves to prevent the mites from spreading to other parts of the plant.

(Spider mites look like small dots)

It's important to take action early and regularly monitor your plants for signs of infestation to prevent damage from becoming too severe.

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