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Julia in Asheville

Help! I have an aphid infestation today!

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I have a 150 gallon aquaponics system inside a greenhouse that I started in early May (greenhouse just closed in this month). I have 4 grow beds which equal 150 gallons and a 150 gallon underground fish tank with about 35 tilapia which are now 5 to 6 inches long. Everything has gone beautifully -- I've had an incredible crop of tomatoes, peppers, okra and basil. My fish are healthy and the water perfectly clear and balanced. I have red wriggler worms in all the beds. My problem is this morning I have an explosion of aphids in two of the beds, covering the gravel and the pepper and okra plants. Obviously I can't spray anything on them that could get into the water for the fish. Anybody have any ideas of what I can do? There are very few adult aphids (green) but thousands of white just-born ones.

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Chilli Spray

This is my favorite thing to do when dealing with aphids. If you do not have a chilli bush you can substitute chilli powder or paste. Chilli spray is particularly effective against ants, aphids and other soft-bodied insects.

Small hot chillies (40-50)

2 litres of water

a few drops of liquid soap (don't use anti bacterial soap as this will damage your bacteria in your bio filter).

Puree the chillies and one litre of water together in a blender. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve and add the soap and the other litre of water. Spray this mixture undiluted on to plants.

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if you can't buy some live ladybugs (home depot sells them online) search for garlic pepper spray, basically brew up garlic, hot peppers, black pepper and a drop or two of oil.. there's a recipe on this site somewhere but i couldn't find it..

pugo posted it while i was typing

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Thanks so much guys! I want to tell you what I did so far, so I can hear your feedback. I took a spray head on my hose and washed the suckers way down into the gravel. Now the fish tank is a bit murky and full of aphids. I'm hoping this will drown them and also the fish will eat them. Anyone tried this? I'll keep a close eye on it and be ready with pepper spray if they come back. I'll keep you posted...

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yes, i occasionally flood the growbeds to "wash out" the aphids.. i have one tank with minnows so they pretty much eat them up..i just found a local store that sells ladybugs, so i'll be getting a pint next week.. along with some nematodes to take care of the fungus gnats

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Update this evening: The aphids that were washed through the system are showing up on top of the gravel as they float back up when the grow beds flood. However, they are all DEAD. I was able to wash off the pepper plants quite successfully but the okra I pulled out as its season was almost done anyway and it was too hard to wash off. Next time this happens, I have a chili spray recipe to use for times like this. Also will look for live ladybugs. Thanks again for your help!

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