Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Garden Vampires

Ugh. Things were going so well! The seeds I sowed on March 7th (has it really only been slightly more than a month?) have grown into sturdy teenage plants. Look at this tomato! What a handsome guy!

Then, last night happened. What 1980s kid remembers Bunnicula? (I remember having to read it in secret because mom didn't approve for some reason.( I thought that vampire-bunny was the only thing that sucked the life out of plants. Not true, my friends! Aphids are a *real* vampire of the garden.

I'm not quite sure how it happened...the soil was fresh and I haven't brought any new plants near the plantlets. Yet, there they were! The nasty brutes!

Aphids, the bastards that they are, are soft-bodied insects that suck the "juice" out of plants. (See, I told you! Vampires. Photo to the left is from Wikipedia) They are teeny tiny, can be white (mine are), green, black, yellow, and a light grey. Unfortunately for me, the reproduce like crazy and none of their natural predators (hopefully) live in my house. So, the only solution to me was insecticidal soap. You can make your own but I've bought a commercial brand. I've heard that some fragrances and dyes and such in soap could scrotch plants. So, if you decide to go the homemade route, make sure you go for something mild.

Luckily, I think I caught them during their first feast because the damage thus far has been minimal. So, I guess there's that. sigh.

Anywho, looks like I'll be on aphid patrol for a while. I'm going on vacation in a few weeks so hopefully they'll be all gone by then. Otherwise I fear I'll come home to a few dozen dead plants.

Here's a photo of some aphid damage and some aphids dying a slow death in some insecticidal soap (that's the wet stuff).


Edited: I spoke with the guy at the plant clinic at Merrifield. Apparently, the only way an aphid could have gotten into my house was on my clothes or through an open window. Thus, when this freak infestation is over (he was surprised it happened), all should be well. And, I am happy to report the plants were clear this morning & this afternoon. Hurray!

Now, if this happened outside, I'd have more options on pest control. Like hosing the buggers off. Or getting ladybugs to have an aphid feast. Here's a great article from You Grow Girl on attracting ladybug (and deterring aphids) to your garden: article.


  1. Bad aphids! But glad you caught them early.

  2. I don't know if you ever got that orchid, but aphids love the blossoms of orchids (they don't bother them if they aren't blooming). The basil plant my father gave me last year was infested and they totally ate the flowers off of poor Issac (he's just a dwarf Oncidium, no defenses, poor baby).