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I have just discovered that some of my carrots have this very dense presence of insects.

Are they aphids?

I have learned recently that ants love to grow aphids and I could notice some ants around aphids in other plants before. But this is different: around these carrots, there is a massive highway of ants (not sure if it is related).

What should I do about this?

disease disease

  • One word: pesticides – Rob Aug 17 '18 at 21:35
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    Spray Neem at night and lightly. You don't want to kill the ant colony, just the aphids. Soap (proper soap) and water work well, slower but help control these aphid 'herds'. And if you want to use ladybugs, make a cool little 'gift' of ladybugs for your neighbors. Ladybugs are programmed to leave the site of their birth. Seriously! Also, predatory flies...give your neighbors these 'gifts' and they help the entire neighborhood. – stormy Aug 17 '18 at 23:21
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Your carrots do have a severe aphid infestation. Often you can blast them off with a strong jet of water, but the ants will lift them back up again if they're harvesting the aphid dew.

So, you're left with any of the insecticidal mixes that deal with aphids including insecticidal soaps, neem oil etc, as well as biocontrol with parasitic wasps and ladybugs.

Insects tend to attack damaged plants so check to see if your carrots are stressed in any way.

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    Use Neem at this point! Spray the soil as well, lightly. I have had a horrid year with aphids and I think it is because we have a huge ant population of all different kinds. If you use parasitic wasps and lady bugs don't use Neem? – stormy Aug 17 '18 at 23:16
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    I think Neem has to be ingested so it won't affect parasitic wasps. Won't do the lady bugs any good though. – Graham Chiu Aug 17 '18 at 23:19
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    I have found giving my neighbors great gifts of Lady Bugs, Predatory Flies has been the best control ever! Parasitic wasps eat insects that have eaten Neem...I get these hoards of black aphids this time of year on brassicas, mostly. On my artichokes. I spray a little Neem and that is it. So late in the season I allow them to gorge as my artichokes are ready to harvest as well as cabbage and broccoli. I've never had these guys on my carrots but makes sense. I'd harvest those carrots and put them in the root cellar! – stormy Aug 17 '18 at 23:26

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