Aphid infestation in soil may be remediated to facilitate re-use of the soil. In addition to this, it is recommended that preventative measures are taken to monitor and prevent future infestations. Both conventional and biological controls are outlined below as well as suggestions for monitoring for a recurring infestations. Aphids rapidly reproduce and produce winged offspring every few generations. This makes monitoring a key component of future infestation prevention.
Generally speaking, the most effective means of eliminating a systemic aphid infestation is to focus on controlling the ant population that has attracted the aphids to the soil. Below are suggestions for remediation. Ants carry aphid eggs back to their nest for winter and thus can store a population of pests outside of your treated zones. The ants are the agents that take the aphid infestation to the roots of the plant. Ants are reluctant to cross lines of bone meal or powdered charcoal. Developing a perimeter of these materials around your greenhouse or garden can prevent a recurring infestation by ants. It is also important to physically disrupt the soil to disrupt and eliminate the ant nests in the soil with thorough spading as these nests are causing the aphid infestation.
Remediation of Aphids in Soil:
Incorporate Diatomaceous earth and Neem meal to remediate current infestation. This application will also aid in preventing future infestations.
Monitor Nitrogen levels in soil. Aphids flourish in a nitrogen rich environment. Reduce available nitrogen as much as is reasonable to discourage aphid proliferation and future infestation.
Monitoring for Future Infestations:
Aphids are attracted to the color yellow. This fact can be used to your advantage to develop traps for aphids to monitor for future infestations. Place yellow pans with slightly soapy water in them near infested zones to monitor for new arrivals.
Alternatively, you can consider painting plywood or Masonite with yellow paint and applying a sticky goo-like bug trap such as Tangle-foot to trap insects that are attracted to the color.
In addition to the soil amendments and ant population remediation recommended above, there are other biological controls that can be used to prevent future infestations. Ladybugs are the best known biological control for aphids. Predatory lacewings may also be used as effective predators. Additional predators include soldier bugs, damsel bugs, bigeyed bugs, pirate bugs, spiders, assassin bugs and syrphid flies.
You can rear beneficial insects by placing aphid infested material in a plastic bag. Beneficial larvae will likely emerge in a few days.
It is also recommended to grow companion plants near affected areas, or between rows of crops subject to infestation. Suitable companion plants to help prevent aphid infestation include:
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