Posted on 20 February 2009 by tomatocasual.com

Reader Questions: Grubs and Aphids

wormBy Vanessa Richins

This week we’ve had quite a few comments on the post, “What’s That Bug on My Tomato?

Kira Hamman, the author, posted a comment with some answers, and I will be adding some additional information.

Tina
“My garden is filled with grub worms how do i get rid of them?
Will a chemical hurt my plants or ruin my soil?
Is there a natural way to get rid of them?
Ive already treated the soil why are they still there?
They eat my potatoes and carrots.
HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Kira suggests planting marigolds, which is a great idea to keep grubs and other bugs away. You can also apply milky spore or buy parasitoid wasps.

Beth
“Aphids are killing my plants. I like to start them early by seed. The aphids are even in the house. My plants are wilting and turning yellow i really need some help.”

1.The easiest way is to spray them with a jet of water.
2. As Kira suggests, you can use a mild soap solution or purchase insecticidal soap
3. Buy insects such as ladybugs and lacewings
4. Make a homemade tomato leaf or garlic spray

Jane
“I have bugs on my plants they are little black bugs.They kinda look like fruit flies. They are killing ALL! of my plants. Where are they coming from? I start my tomatoes inside why are they in my house? How do i get rid of them? I don’t use chemicals of any kind is there a natural way to get rid of them?”

Perhaps they are fungus gnats . These little insects love to come when there is wet soil and lay their eggs. They are harmless but very annoying.

Some suggestions for control:
1. Sometimes it helps if you put a layer of sand on top of your soil. Water drains very fast through soil, so your top layer will dry out fast and prevent eggs.
2. Use a yellow sticky tape for catching insects
3. Some suggest brewing chamomile tea, cooling it, then pouring it over the soil.

2 Responses to “Reader Questions: Grubs and Aphids”

  1. tomatocasual.com Shibaguyz Says:

    If we might add something here, the key to any of the above mentioned pests is to understand their life cycle and interrupt that process. Especially in the case of the grub worms, it is important to know what type of beetles you have in your area that might be laying their eggs and producing these grubs.

    For example, if you know the beetles native to your area lay their eggs near the end of summer, be sure you have either a good amount of birds in your yard to eat those beetles and their little grubs, or consult with your local agriculture extension office about what type of nematodes might be helpful to apply to your garden. Either way, it is timing that is essential so know your pest and their life cycle.

    Aphids are best dealt with with a good spray of water and a good SQUISH of the fingers. Don’t use strong solutions of acidic sprays or soaps. Remember, if it will dry out an aphid, it will dry out your plant as well!

    Black flies/fungus gnats are another of those life cycle issues. Great advise here from Vanessa: take care of the adults with the sticky traps above the plants then take care of the eggs by letting your soil dry out. Finally, interrupt the life cycle completely by making sure your soil drains well and only watering when absolutely necessary then not to excess. Oh… and make sure they don’t have any dead or decaying plant matter to feed on. That just gives ’em more energy to thrive on!

    With any of these pests, you can always find great resources for their natural control through your local agricultural extension office or by calling the local office of your Master Gardeners program.

    Thanks for letting us butt in… again! LOL

  2. tomatocasual.com Jack Etsweiler Says:

    I haven’t heard mention of bacillus Thuringiensis (bT). Cornell has a nice rundown: http://www.nysaes.cornell.edu/ent/biocontrol/pathogens/bacteria.html

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