Monday 17 June 2013

Fighting bugs with bugs

I have aphids. Lots of them. :(

They've been slowly taking over since our ski trip in March, when I returned to find a few critters lurking on my chillies. My first (and far too laid back) attempt to eradicate them consisted of simply squishing them. Which seemed to work... for a few weeks, then I noticed them again. All of a sudden there were a lot more of them. Grrrr.

This time I attacked them vigorously with a gelatine spray, which didn't do ANYTHING, followed by a warm soap water spray, which seemed to work... for a while. Grrr.

So. This called for slightly harsher action and I sent off for a bottle of biological oil-based anti-aphid gunk, which took ages to spray onto my, now enormous, 45 or so chilli plants.... And it worked!! Yay.

However. I was too lazy to apply the second (and third) treatment, because it was just so unpleasant. Oh how I wish I'd applied the second treatment...

Which brings me to my fifth and final strategy: bug on bug action. 

I bought 1,000 Chrysopa larvae online and let them loose in the greenhouse. Unfortunately most of them seem to be either very lazy or vegetarians... I have spent hours - seriously... hours! - gently moving them from their hiding places onto leaves with greenfly on them and gently prodding them towards the food. Which they then eat and scurry back off to their hiding places...

I managed to capture this gruesome sequence this morning...

Chrysopa larvae draining a greenfly :P