Friday, February 20, 2009

Meet Brevicoryn Brassicae!

Who's been sucking the life out of my beautiful purple cauliflower leaves? None other than my newest nemesis, the Mealy Cabbage Aphid.

Here's a portrait of one of the better looking ones...we'll call him Fabio:

Fabio has made hundreds of babies.
They're yucky little beasts.

It just makes me crazy. I live in a city of about four million people, and the aphid that specializes in devouring Brassicas has found my three friggin cauliflower plants. What, are they reading my blog or something? How do they do this?

Here's some info on getting rid of these mooches for you, just in case you're on the Google Bug Radar:

Where only a few are present they can be rubbed off affected shoots, after a while natural predators will arrive and remove them. A hose with good force can be used to dislodge them from tough-leaved vegetables. Placing aluminium foil or a mirror below plants, fools them into flying upward.
A spray prepared from a couple drops of washing-up liquid to a gallon of water as an acceptable organic method of control; so are insecticidal soaps made from plant fatty acids. Avoid spraying in sunshine to prevent scorching the plant.
Biological controls need a constant supply to survive, so there will always be a low-level presence, hopefully these will be on nearby wild plants. Ladybirds are nocturnal so if they are feeding during the day the number of aphids may be low.
For chemical control use pyrethroids or bifenthrin - spray as late in the day as possible to avoid Ladybirds and other friendly creatures. There is evidence that Myzus persicae are developing resistance to the pyrethroids and Primocarb so it is best to vary the chemicals used to reduce the chances of this happening.
An acceptable organic spray is made from an extract of the Neem tree called Azadiractin
Companion planting using partner plants which deter the aphids, eg. Borage to deter Black Bean Aphids.

I'm going to spray them with a mixture of about 1T of Dr. Bronner's soap mixed with a quart of water. I'm guessing that that'll be the cure.

Meanwhile, still harvesting tomatoes!



Anonymous said...

Have you tried simply vacuuming them off the plants? Then dropping most insects into water with some dish soap kills them; ants, fleas, most small insects.

surfing cowboys said...

Hey Yvette & Fred, I know you're busy harvesting those juicy tomatoes but you might want to put down the baskets and pick up a copy of the latest Sunset Magazine. It just arrived in my mailbox today and gives your blog a well deserved nod.
Congrats! You deserve it!

Anonymous said...

So that's what they are. I haven't been able to grow brassicas at all because of them. I'm surprised you have any, I thought they all lived at my house. Thanx for the tips, I have some Dr. Bronners.

Adriana said...

They're on my brussel sprouts. Thanks for the tip!

SashaLee said...

My skin crawls seeing that. I killed a million of these little bastards this weekend. All over my arugula and collard greens. I thinned out my plants thinking that might help. So sick-