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Old-Chads-Orchard

Aphid control

Seems I have a bad infestation of blackfly in my orchard. Looked for costs to buy in Ladybirds & they aren't cheap, around 50 for 200. Other option is parasitic wasps at 20 for 500. I have 400 odd trees over several acres, so flying killers would be best, any suggestions?

Also is soapy water spray worth it? Don't want to use chemicals (is liquid soap classed as a chemical?)
Going to greaseband the trees this weekend to keep ants at bay.

Help please, last years ladybirds seemed to have deserted me and my (young) trees are suffering

Thanks
Falstaff

I didn't know you could flog ladybirds ! Cool Cool

That may be why we're infested with harlequin ones Mad

You could boil up a load of rhubarb leaves I suppose - but why Oxalic Acid should be regarded as "Not a chemical" I don't know.
Old-Chads-Orchard

in the US you can get a tub of 1500 for $30, not so cheap here.
tahir

We tend to just let them get on with it, sprays won't work very well as the affected leaves conceal the buggers.

With the bio controls you need to get in early, by the sounds of it you're far too late.

Nice to see you again Wink
Slim

We tend to just let them get on with it, sprays won't work very well as the affected leaves conceal the buggers.

With the bio controls you need to get in early, by the sounds of it you're far too late.

Nice to see you again Wink


Slowing down the ant protectors will help the beneficials that are already present, and just needing to increase their numbers
Falstaff

What tahir says Cool

The damn things are parthenogenetic and can have 2 chicks a day !

Without going systemic, you don't really have much chance - but they don't really do that much harm anyway.

Really "systemics" means Neonics and we really don't like THEM !
Lorrainelovesplants

I have the same problem. Ive tried spraying but the leaves have curled over and are hiding them, so now I just pick off and burn the really infested leaves.
gregotyn

Falstaff, In perfect conditions the adult can produce a new born every 20 mins.,-well that is what they said at college. If you slow down the ant 'farmers, and therefore protectors' with a grease trap on the tree trunk then some aphid devouring insects may help reduce the infestation, as well as birds and the soap spray, but I take the point with curled up leaves the sprays are not as effective. Not sure if I would buy ladybirds seems a lot of money for an insect which may just fly away to the neighbours. The population of ladybirds will increase next year as with a lot of aphids (food), about they start to increase their numbers, ie conditions favourable to breeding, but I realise its now you want the controls, not next year when the ladybirds will have naturally increased, and the aphids will be in decline due to too many predators. To a farmer whose income is derived from growing then aphids can be economic.
lorrayne

Has anyone tried Neem oil for blackfly ??

L
Lorrainelovesplants

Ive just googled Neem oil. Its a tad expensive if you have to spray a whole orchard (and I assume more than once!)
Im sure it does what it says on the tin, but economically and sustainably I think Ill skip this one.
Im sure there are natural plants here I could use to act as an insecticide.
Old-Chads-Orchard

Well decided to remove the infested leaves, grease the trunks to keep the ants at bay and soap spray the worst trees. See if it improves the situation
Slim

Falstaff, In perfect conditions the adult can produce a new born every 20 mins.,-well that is what they said at college. If you slow down the ant 'farmers, and therefore protectors' with a grease trap on the tree trunk then some aphid devouring insects may help reduce the infestation, as well as birds and the soap spray, but I take the point with curled up leaves the sprays are not as effective. Not sure if I would buy ladybirds seems a lot of money for an insect which may just fly away to the neighbours. The population of ladybirds will increase next year as with a lot of aphids (food), about they start to increase their numbers, ie conditions favourable to breeding, but I realise its now you want the controls, not next year when the ladybirds will have naturally increased, and the aphids will be in decline due to too many predators. To a farmer whose income is derived from growing then aphids can be economic.


One of the problems with buying in mature ladybugs (other than the potential for them to just fly away) is that they're not the stage at which they devour the most aphids. The lady bug larvae are the true destroyers. Really what seems to work best around these parts is to set the aphids back with a heavy soapy water spray, try to reduce ant protectionism, and wait for the ladybugs in the area to have laid their eggs. Insecticides often kill off the predators, or at least disrupt their mating cycles, and it takes a lot longer for their numbers to return than for the aphids... Just things to keep in mind as you plan your controls for this year and next. You can still order ladybugs, just expect to see real control in a few weeks when their next of kin starts to really put in the labor you need.

If you want really good biological control next year, you should actually grow your own aphids first on something like oats. This allows you to have a food source for your own predators, which can then roam around looking for more aphids to lay eggs by as they reach maturity. You can find more about this idea by reading up on "guardian plants"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exjuH-Wpc6Q
dpack

if you can cover them in soapy foam aphids are dead,tis the cover em thing that is trickey

re trees etc prevent the "farmer"ants helps a lot
Old-Chads-Orchard

well they got a dose of soap water tonight, will see how that goes for now. Seems to be few ladybirds but lots of soldier beetles, hopefully doing their bit to scoff aphids Smile

On a brighter note, I have found loads of ladybird larva, downside (maybe) they are harlequin's

VM

I thought one problem with soapy water spray (though it is what
I have used in the past) is that it is bad for ladybirds and other insects as well as for aphids.
tahir

I thought one problem with soapy water spray (though it is what
I have used in the past) is that it is bad for ladybirds and other insects as well as for aphids.

Its certainly non selective
Old-Chads-Orchard

Well it seems my soap spraying has got rid of the worst of them Smile Only sprayed the trees with evidence of bad infestation (some leaves were black with them) and they are pretty much all gone. Ladybird larva & soldier beetles dont seem to be bothered by a soapy shower Smile Will just keep monitoring & spraying when needed for now. Just need a dry day to fruit grease the trunks now. gregotyn

That is right Slim as the bugs build up so the predators build up but after them; eventually the predators build up to such a degree that there is little food about and so they die off too- which allows the bugs to build up again and subsequently the predators, sigmoid curves I think they call them Old-Chads-Orchard

found a couple of ladybirds mid larva-beetle stage, never seen that before, quite interesting to see, will keep an eye on the one I found, any ideas how log it takes to get to beetle stage?
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