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PI farmer

very small bugs are eating my plants

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I have a problem with some kind of small bug.  I laid a sheet on the floor and could see little specks on it.  If I went to touch them, they would jump.

I also noticed on my plants I have little "bumps" which are probably eggs.  My plants get to a point of growth and then the bugs/eggs start taking over and the plants begin to die.

Does anyone know what kind of bug this is and how might I get rid of them.  I did try ladybugs once but the ladybugs just disappeared.  I have ordered more ladybugs and will try that approach one more time.

 

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Based on the sketchy description that you've provided, my guess would be spider mites.  It might have been aphids but your observation that they jump has me thinking of mites.

 

Using integrated pest management (like ladybugs) is one option but it will require that you match the predator to the pest - and it will take time to establish. 

 

It goes without saying that you're limited in what you can spray around an aquaponics system but someone else may have some suggestions about a benign spray that works with the type of insect you've described.  Where's Old Prospector?

 

Pests often besiege plants in an aquaponics system that are not doing too well.  Is everything in your system as it should be?  If not, fix what's wrong (perhaps add a little supplementary feeding) or remove the affected plants.

 

Gary

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I've had a little luck with diatomaceous earth.  Also , a spray of dish soap and water has worked on aphids on corn in a wicking bed, but I have no idea if it will work on what your describing and you would have to make sure it did not get into the system.   .

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I did put some ladybugs on it last night so we will see if that helps.  As you suggested, my plants are not really thriving.  I added more light lately and that has helped.  I keep checking my nitrates but they are basically zero.  I'm wondering if my test chemicals are accurate. 

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your bumps are more likely to be scale. try rubbing some off with your fingers and see what is underneath. if it is scale you can keep manually removing then or if they are bad, cover the grow media with something and spray sparingly with eco-oil (not pest oil or white oil) in a handpump atomiser. The idea is that a very fine coating of oil will suffocate the insects. two sprays three weeks apart will usually do the trick.

 

the plain natural glycerin based soaps do something similar and are safer but a little less effective.

 

stay away from insecticidal soap, neem oil and insect growth regulators like Azadirachtin

 

You should be able to make up a weak nitrate solution to test your test kit. then you will know for sure if you have a problem with your testing.

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I believe that the bugs I have a spider mites from what I can determine.  The lady bugs do seem to be making a difference.  I have new leaves on my potato plant.

 

My plants are growing better after I put up some LED lights.  I guess I wasn't getting enough light through the windows.

 

I also think I need to rotate my plants more often.  This may also reduce the bug issue.

 

I tested my water testing kit.  I didn't show any Nitrates so I put some miracle grow in the test water.  It still didn't show any nitrates.  Sounds like I need a new test kit.

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Hi PI farmer,

 

I don't know if you live in a town or in the country and I don't know if they do this in The USA.

When I first started aquaponics and I suspected my chemicals were suspect, I would take a sample of my water to the local fish and aquarium shop where they would test my water for free every time. I would then test the sample with my chemicals and see if there were any discrepencies. Every time there were none, so my chemicals were OK. Also, anaother way is, as I have done before, or has been done with me, another fellow aquaponics guy organised to have coffee with me, and also check his kit with mine. Now I don't bother, everything is OK in that department and I've managed to iron out most (not all) of my operating errors. 

 

Cheers.

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I have determined some of my problems.

 

my fish were too cold.  I have added another heater and the temp is now about 70+.  The fish are much more vigorous when feeding.

 

I didn't have enough lighting originally.  I added two 4 ft. LED lights and this has helped.  I am going to lower the lights to within a foot of the plants to help them grow faster.

 

I am growing different plants which aren't bothered as much by bugs.  No tomatoes or potatoes.  Now I'm growing more greens.

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