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I have a few vegetable plants (kale, broccoli) that have been badly infested by aphids. I was wondering if I can remove those plants and put them in the compost bin or I should discard them some other way. I want to make sure they are gone and done reappear next year (I am sure new ones will appear but want to get rid of these for now)

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You can put them straight on the compost heap - aphids suck sap from the plants,and once the plants start to die back and stop growing, they'll just leave anyway, they won't live on the compost heap.

  • If they hang around they will go after my new vege plants. Better to throw them in the bin instead? – JStorage Mar 25 '17 at 23:12
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    why waste good vegetation? Aphids are always with us - kill them with a contact insecticide one day, others will be there within minutes or hours, so worrying about some infested vegetables isn't worth it, they're very useful on the compost heap. – Bamboo Mar 25 '17 at 23:23
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When I have an aphid infestation outpacing my ladybugs, I use my homemade pesticide spray of Dawn, water, and baking soda. (1 gallon water, 2 teaspoons Dawn, 4 teaspoons baking soda) Good for insects and fungus. Coat liberally.

When aphids first moved in on my gardens, I bought a few thousand ladybugs. (Despite my region being thick with Asian Lady Beetles, they can't gain a foothold on my lot BC of all the ravenous birds).

The initial release, when done properly, is like dropping an anti-pest nuke on your garden. Enough should stick around to keep you covered for the year. (I keep a dish with rocks & water for them, and built them a house - but that's probably a little overboard.)

Dill and Radishes are great for attracting ladybugs. This is mostly because they attract aphids - BUT they're so aroma-intense that ladybugs will come to the area because they know that where there's Dill and Radishes, there's aphids.

Summary: spray the infestation. Entice predators to the area. Maybe buy an initial population. Build/buy them a house if you're a psycho like me.

  • I've been told that lady bugs released ALWAYS relocate. Great for neighbors. I've replied why not give your neighbors gifts of lady bugs without telling them they'll probably come live at your home, grins. I have NEVER ever seen aphids on dill or radish!!! Lots on brassicas, artichokes and flowering evergreens, roses. Do you really think that lady bugs can smell? How is that lady bug condo coming? – stormy Mar 27 '17 at 16:25
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    It's not a recommended practice .. you can import ladybug diseases from elsewhere. If you do it, make sure that they are raised from eggs and not captured from the wild. – Graham Chiu Mar 27 '17 at 20:33
  • I had the barracks/condo for them sometime last year. Nothing fancy - Just a box with slotted entries and a dark, slanted roof. -- It's true, at least ime, that 95%+ will relocate, even with an evening release and misting for drinking. But when you release 3000 of them... it adds up. Hundreds stayed for a few days, but I had a ridiculous explosion of aphids and mites. When the food was gone, most left but a few dozen stick around. No idea if they actually used the house I made or not. -- As for the smelling, I assume they're likely more equipped than the average insect as they're diet is – Paul Nardini Mar 29 '17 at 3:43
  • 2) diverse and carnivorous - but that's applying mammalian logic. Insects are great smellers, they just do it with antennae instead of schnozzes. -- I'll correct my bit about "dill = aphids = ladybugs". It should be " dill = X = ladybugs" - I'm assuming there's an "X" in there BC ladybugs are insectivores. Wouldn't make much sense for them to be attracted to a plant unless the plant attracted their lunch. -- Side note (since we're on the subject): first ladybug of the year spotted yesterday. Brown, shiny, and moving with purpose. -- My infestation blew up on lettuce, spinach, and roses. The – Paul Nardini Mar 29 '17 at 3:52
  • three year old Kale was bug free. (Joked with the wife that even bugs hate the taste). No idea why. I'm a flower, shrub, and vine grower. The veggies are barely a hobby to me - they're just free, delicious food. – Paul Nardini Mar 29 '17 at 3:55
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It shouldn't be an issue to add aphid-infested plant matter to your compost. If your heap gets up to the right temperature, they'll burn to death anyways. If they lay eggs, those eggs will probably be eaten by the composting bacteria as well.

I've added aphid-infested stalks in without any problems with the resulting compost.

  • my compost bin is not heating up as expected. Still trying to figure out the magic there – JStorage Mar 28 '17 at 18:56
  • JStorage - needs more nitrogen, probably. Pee on it (or into a jug and then add) if nothing else is handy. Not on the bin... on the compost materials within. – PoloHoleSet Mar 29 '17 at 16:14

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