Aphids on Brussel Sprouts - Knowledgebase Question

Name: Garden Friend
Bellingham, MA
Question by tomolo5
November 24, 1997
What do you do about green aphids on broccoli, arugula, kale and brussel sprouts? I love planting cole crops in midsummer for a fall harvest, but once the frost hits, it seems like only a day or two before the veggies get covered with tiny blue-green aphids. They're almost impossible to wash off, and my garden is too big to cover everything with Reemay.


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Answer from NGA
November 24, 1997

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Aphids! Aren't they a pain? What's got me puzzled is they appeared AFTER a frost! That seems a bit unusual. Generally frost stops that sort of thing in it's tracks.
There are a number of things you can do before resorting to chemical controls. The most obvious is a very strong stream of water sprayed on them to knock them off. If that doesn't work, you could try an insecticidal soap or a spray containing "neem". A horticultural oil spray is often helpful. I have heard that an aluminum foil "mulch" also is quite effective, although I've never tried that. Ants should be controlled as well. They often will "herd" aphids because they love the honeydew that the aphids produce. So essentially ants protect the aphids for their own purposes!
The most important thing however is good "housekeeping' in your garden. Be sure to clean up plant debris after the plants are done for the year. Aphids lay their eggs in those leaves, they winter over andhatch out in the spring. (When you rake these up and out of the garden...DO NOT put them in the compost!) By getting rid of that debris you may very well stop the problem before it begins.

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