Aphid Control in Growing Dome Greenhouse

Many Dome owners frequently ask us questions regarding pest control. Here are some ideas for doing aphid control:
1.    Is the Dome planted really densely?  Thin the plants by pulling the most infested plants first.
2.    Spray the entire plant with an insecticidal soap or a mixture of  dish washing liquid and water.  Joy and Seventh Generation are good choices.  Make sure to spray the underside of each leaf.  That’s where the bugs like to hide.
3.    If the infestation is spreading to other plants in your dome, in addition to the above methods, you may want to create a plant free dirt zone, this will slow or stop the bugs moving on to other plants.
4.    Use the following recipe given to us by Yart:
a.    2 TBS of ammonia
b.    2 TBS of lemon scented Joy dish soap
c.    1/4 Can of cheap beer and then mix with 1 galloon of water
d.    Udgar said that along with spraying the plants, you can also buy yellow plastic lunch plates (aphids are attracted to yellow). Smear cooking oil on them, or Vaseline. Aphids will go to the plates and get stuck. He said to shake the plants daily, some of the aphids will fall off onto the plates, others will fly away, others will die due to the soap solution. Do this daily till they are gone.

Q. We have had a huge attack of aphids on tomatoes growing in my dome.
Has anyone had experience with this problem and can shed some light on natural methods to control them?

A. There is an excellent report from a government agency on aphid control.
It can be viewed at http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/PDF/gh-aphid.pdf.
They make it available as a PDF file. It is excellent and has lots of resources to buy biological controls.

Comments

  1. Aphids have been the least of my problems with insect control. Ladybugs are good though not great, but they are fun to have inside the dome. (They’re very happy, they mate up like there’s no tomorrow) Don’t bother with the small 1000-1500 count (for a 51′ dome). You can buy them by the quart for as little as $32.50 plus shipping. 18,000 ladybugs may sound like a lot, but after a day or two of settling in, they are not that noticeable.

    In addition to ladybugs, I’ve bought praying mantis. They come in a 1-2″ round nests that hold a couple hundred each, and took a couple of weeks before they hatched. They leave the ladybugs alone, and are quite amusing to have around as well.

    • Thank you so much for sharing the great tips Steve. Praying mantis are pretty entertaining to watch aren’t they!

  2. I found that the best way for me to control the aphids is to start controlling the ants that farm the aphids. Early in the spring even before the aphids are around, I have ants milling around my greenhouse. (I live in Zone 2B and my greenhouse is shaded from mid-November to the beginning of March so I don’t use it during that time and I let the greenhouse freeze up.) I put 1 Tbsp Borax in a container with 1/2 cup fruit jelly and mix it well until no more borax crystals are visible. Then I place little dishes of the mixture on the inside ledge of the greenhouse where the ants like to walk. Plastic lids from sour cream containers work well. The ants eat this mixture up like it’s candy! I use my homemade raspberry jelly. I notice that after about 3 weeks there are no more ants. I have had my greenhouse since 2007. For the first 3 years I had bad aphids and I can’t remember how many homemade remedies I used – certainly every organic remedy that anyone told me about. None of them worked for me. Last year I tried this remedy on the ants and I had next to no aphids. This year so far I have not seen a single aphid.

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