Aphids and ants - how to deal with them?
Aphids and ants - what is it? Amazing natural symbiosis, tamed ants "cows", which they care for, or are they real predators who simply take away almost everything that aphids "drank" from plants? And what is primary in this interaction - ants or aphids? Dealing with this issue is important if only to understand how to deal with these pests in our garden. About the nature of the interaction of aphids and ants and about methods of dealing with them - our article.
- Features of the development of the aphid population
- On the symbiosis of ants and aphids
- What plants do aphids harm?
- Signs of aphids on plants
- Aphid control methods
- Ways to deal with ants
- Aphid Prevention
Features of the development of the aphid population
To begin with, the aphid is at the lowest level of the food chain, and it has many enemies that devour it. Given this, almost the only salvation of the aphids itself is its lightning-fast (in no other way) breeding, aimed at preventing the destruction of the entire population as such. So, the aphid is afraid and multiplies very quickly from fear.
Breeding, aphids simply lay their eggs, and quite in quantities noticeable compared to the size of their bodies - up to one and a half hundred pieces per clutch. And surprisingly, only one female, this tiny creature, in two months of its short existence can carry out (just think about it) up to two dozen of these clutches. Imagine how much progeny she can give! Aphid sticks its eggs quite reliably to the leaves with the help of a unique substance, characteristic only of aphids.
It is interesting that in each ovipositor both wingless and winged female settlers actively develop, which these same eggs will be laid in the future for new plants. The higher the risk of extermination of the population, the more female settlers are born. It has been noticed that if pests from eggs hatch a lot, and they become little fed, the female settlers just fly away in search of a better place, while flying, by modest standards of the insect, quite large distances - up to several hundred meters.
Closer to autumn, when it gets colder, female settlers begin laying eggs for the winter. They literally hide them in the most secluded places of the garden plot in the hope that they will survive the frosts.
It was noticed that only 7-8 days are enough for larvae to appear from the eggs laid by the female settler, and the most interesting is that they are already capable of reproduction, often without fertilization. Females rush into battle and lay off up to three generations of insects in three months, this is a whole army consisting of hundreds of thousands of the same gallant individuals.
Aphids are completely unpretentious, for complete development they need an air temperature from +24 to + 29 ° С, but if it is cold, below +20 degrees, then the growth and development of individuals can slow down, sometimes quite significantly, and summer residents rub their hands in cold years, counting that it was they who defeated the aphids. If the temperature drops to + 20 ° C and below, then the delay in the development of aphids can stretch for a good two weeks.
On the symbiosis of ants and aphids
Let's move on to the ants. We won’t describe their biology, but dispel the myth that aphids are a kind of “ladybugs” that graze peacefully at the anthill, and when the ants are hungry, they drag them onto trees, feed and milk them, feeding on the juice that the aphids drank from plants. This is not entirely true.
In fact, the female settler is the primary one, who chooses the suitable conditions for laying eggs, that is, those plants whose tops are tender and not woody for a long time, for example, in chokeberries, apple trees, young currant branches do not woody for half a summer (and if not insecticides, then the aphid would probably live only there), but choosing suitable bushes, it lays eggs.
Ants cannot be called passive participants either, they try to equip anthills near cultivated plants, probably in the expectation that sooner or later there will appear sweet juice extracted from plant aphids.
So, the symbiosis of ants and aphids should nevertheless be recognized. Ants once and somehow found out that if they annoy the aphids with their antennae, then it will begin to secrete a very pleasant sweet span as a derivative of plant juice, which is the most pleasant ant food. Therefore, they are, to some extent, forced to take care of the aphids: the aphids will end their food, they will grab it with their paws and transfer it to a new place.
A ladybug is suitable (which, according to biologists, can eat up to 100 of these insects in their life), ants drive it away, and a mealybug, whitefly and other pests, which aphids do not mind, and ladybugs themselves can harm the garden will eat.
Further, the most interesting thing: when food for aphids becomes small, that is, growths on plants become trivial, or food for aphids in the form of leaves does not finish at all, aphids become useless for ants and they either eat it all or strongly regulate their numbers by eating only part of the aphids - here you have a symbiosis. But nothing intelligible is known about the ant protection of the ovipositor of the aphids, one of the readers of Botanychka knows something sensible about this, write about it in the comments.
There is information, by the way, that with the onset of autumn, ants simply carry aphids into the anthill, settling it on the roots of plants, I do not know about this, but I know that the proboscis of the aphids is very thin and fragile and not even every leaf can pierce, for example, hawthorn, then what should she eat on very hard roots?
What plants do aphids harm?
Young leaves and growths of apple trees, cherries, plums, black and red currants, gooseberries (although aphids are very few there, probably because currants, which are more attractive, are always nearby), on viburnum (but for some reason not every year), grapes , climbing roses, chokeberries, peppers, cucumbers and so on - all these crops are harmful to aphids, however, to varying degrees.
For example, an irga, in which shoots are already woody in early June, is not terribly aphid, but if the currant is not processed, the picture from the aphid invasion will be very depressing.
Signs of aphids on plants
So, the beginning of the concern that the aphid will declare war on you soon is the presence of a large anthill in your area. Suddenly, he began to worry somehow, and the ants ran along the trunks of the plants: know that the aphid has already appeared, and the ants have salivated.
After that, inspect the tops of all young plant growths and start with the black currant, it is an indicator: if its tops are curled up, then the aphids are there for sure and, possibly, everywhere.
In addition, it is possible to note on the sheets of various plants an atypical, lighter color, dried or deformed young shoots, falling buds (they lack nutrition), flowers that are clumsy in shape, sticky plaque on leaflets (span that the ants have not eaten), and the corpses of a dead aphid.
It is hardly worth panic if the aphid struck the currant (and it usually begins with it). Do not poison the garden with chemistry, but simply cut the tops of the branches from the aphids and burn them outside the site.
If aphids have affected many plants and ants are spreading them intensively around the site, then more serious measures should be applied, since aphids harm not only directly, weakening plant immunity, reducing and distorting growths, but can also be a carrier of various viral diseases, all the same reversion , and a sooty fungus “sits” on sticky aphid secretions, turning the plant into something terrible.
Aphid control methods
Aphids are far from a new harmful insect, therefore, there are more than enough means to combat it. For example, if aphids are few, then we take ordinary garden rubber gloves, those that are thinner so as not to harm young shoots, and collect it manually.
If there is water on the site, then it is possible under a high pressure of the sprayer, trying not to overdo it and not break the growths, just wash off the aphids to the ground, and until it again climbs onto the plants, by that time the leaves and shoots will already lignify and become aphids " too tough. "
Be sure to fight weeds on and around the site, because in addition to aphids, there can be other diseases and pests on the weeds. If weeding weeds is difficult for you, then use herbicides.
The so-called natural method is very interesting. All that is needed for this is to create for the aphids the most unsuitable living conditions, using nature itself. It is necessary to plant plants that annually and abundantly attack aphids, for example, currants, to plant plants that repel aphids with their aroma - say, garlic or onions.
On the periphery of the site, you need to plant those cultures that, on the contrary, attract various insects, including useful ones, for example, ladybugs, flies, gold-eyes, all of them just love to enjoy aphids. In fact, there are many such plants, this is a well-known nettle, and any spicy herbs emitting a healing aroma for us and for beneficial insects.
You can attract birds, but be careful, the birds can at the same time feed on your harvest of cherries and cherries, sea buckthorn and blueberries, as well as enjoy the irga.
Dry and raw seeds on a saucer, raw fat on strings - and sparrows, titmouse, linnet will be right there, and when the feed is over, they will consume aphids too.
Do not run the site: in addition to removing weeds, as we have already mentioned, it is necessary that nearby aphids do not grow favorite aphids such as linden, mallow, nasturtium, cosmea, and viburnum.
Chemistry, as you know, is harm, it must be used when there is no other way out. However, by the way, we can say that the use of chemistry is still the most effective way: it kills insects and acts so effectively that they can no longer appear on your site until the end of the summer period. But do not forget that insecticides, namely the so-called drugs for combating harmful insects, can be dangerous for beneficial insects.
In order to at least somehow understand the harmfulness of insecticides, we will briefly talk about the classes of their danger, since on the packaging often, apart from this figure, nothing is indicated. So, all insecticides are divided into contact ones, that is, they begin to act only in direct contact with the victim, intestinal - when the victim swallows poisoned juice or food, and systemic, that is, complex.
It is clear that systemic insecticides are the most effective, they kill insects, and even stay on plants for up to four weeks, which, by the way, must be taken into account when harvesting. A negative factor in a systemic insecticide is the fact that it can, along with pests, poison both a person and water in a pond and beneficial insects such as bees.
To avoid this, we recommend using biological products. They are less effective, but also as safe as possible, because they get them from plant components that have a depressing or exterminating effect on pests.
The disadvantage of any biological preparation is that it is easily washed off by rain or irrigation water, and insects do not die immediately under its influence, they can feed on plants for another week, continuing to cause damage to them, as before. In food, vegetables, fruits and other edible parts of the plant can be safely consumed after a couple of days after processing with these drugs, however, it is better to wash vegetables and fruits before giving children to wash with warm water.
Biological drugs are constantly changing, so be aware of these changes. Currently approved for use against aphids are considered drugs: Akarin, Aktofit, Fitoverm and Biotlin.
Folk methods of fighting aphids
Where without folk measures of control: a bucket of kerosene and a broom, which we shook into it for certain death of pests, probably remember everything. And now, gardening craftsmen have developed their own folk remedies, which, one might say, are no less effective than harmful chemicals, although maybe they still do not act so actively.
Soap for many years has been in the first place, but now, in addition to the simple household soap, which has become boring to all pests, it is quite possible to use new-fashioned antibacterial. All you need is to take two glasses of water and a couple of teaspoons of antibacterial liquid soap and add vegetable oil to this mixture. The composition should be poured into five liters of water and try to place it as carefully as possible. Next - refuel the spray gun and arrange a plentiful shower of objectionable aphids. Usually, two treatments are sufficient for its disappearance.
Kerosene solution is also very effective in the country. All you need is a liter of water at room temperature, 70 g of kerosene, 30 g of laundry soap and a bucket of cold water. First you need to dilute kerosene and soap in water at room temperature to a homogeneous composition. Then pour the mixture into a bucket of water and mix well. It remains now to fill the solution into the sprayer and thoroughly bathe the aphids with them, in order to completely discourage her hunting for tender leaves. Treatments can be carried out once every ten days until complete destruction of the aphids.
Ash and its solutions, in addition to protection, are also foliar top dressing: after all, it contains up to 5% potassium and a number of useful trace elements. To prepare the solution, you need to take 350 g of ash, 50 g of laundry soap and a bucket of water. It is necessary to fill the ashes with water (preferably rain, that is soft) and mix thoroughly, then put on low heat and boil for half an hour. It remains to add laundry soap and cool everything well. Further, as usual - we fill in the spray gun and poison harmful aphids.
Onion infusion, if you do not mind a couple of heads of onions and a liter of water, you get an excellent composition against aphids. As an adhesive, you can add ten grams of laundry soap. All that remains to be done is to chop the onion heads well, pour a liter of rainwater and add 10-15 g of laundry soap. All this should be infused for about half a day, and before use, the mixture should be filtered, added, if necessary, to a liter of water, refuel with a spray bottle and aphids can be sprayed.
Infusion of chamomile - you can’t even believe that he can also. To get rid of aphids with chamomile, you need to take only 150 g of pharmacy chamomile, pour a liter of soft water and add 10 g of laundry soap. After this, the solution should be allowed to brew for a day and diluted three times before processing, although dilution can be completely dispensed with.
Infusion of garlic - this tool will be more powerful. You need to take a couple of heads of garlic and a liter of soft water. The garlic must first be chopped (crushed), poured with water at room temperature and let it brew for a week, tightly closing the lid. Before use, the infusion should be diluted in half and generously douse aphids with this solution, repeating the operation in a day.
Hot peppers are "heavy artillery." For maximum effect, it is necessary to take only the freshest pepper pods, there should be a lot of them, about a kilogram, as well as a bucket of rainwater at room temperature. Pods of pepper, after passing through a meat grinder, need to be poured with a bucket of water, cover and put in a dark place for a day. After this time, the resulting solution must be diluted ten times with water, refuel with a spray bottle and treat all bushes infected with aphids.
Tops of tomatoes, which happens a lot when planting a tomato, or rather a decoction of it, are also a good remedy against aphids. To prepare it, you need six kilograms of tomato tops to fill with water at a temperature of about 40 degrees and add 30 g of laundry soap.All that remains now is to boil the resulting solution for half an hour and dilute it with water in a ratio of one to three. Next - strain, refill the spray gun and treat the aphids.
Celandine is a formidable enemy of everything, our grandfathers and grandmothers, skillfully wielding celandine, even warts deduced that there was aphid. To lime aphids from the site, you need only 500 g of celandine and a liter of water. Cut and finely chopped in pre-worn gloves and glasses plants (both flowers and stems) must be poured with a liter of water and left to stand for a day. After that, the ready-made mixture should be poured into a bucket of water and boiled for a quarter of an hour over low heat, then cooled, and diluted three times before spraying.
All in business - including potato tops. To prepare the infusion, you need a kilogram of potato tops and a bucket of water. The tops must be finely chopped and poured with a bucket of water, after which - let it brew for three hours and dilute aphids three times with water before treatment.
But this is not all, it turns out that the aphids are terribly afraid of smoke, and if smoky fires are built around the periphery of the site, then it can become choking. You can use for this purpose both smoke from branches and leaves, and tobacco, the latter kills aphids on the spot.
Ways to deal with ants
From the fight against aphids, we turn to the fight against ants, because they protect it, carry it, hide it. There are many ways to combat ants, from banal pouring them with boiling water, horse urine, acid and the like. Some simply destroy the anthill with a rake or a shovel, but the anthill workers create it again, and special nature lovers simply dig the whole anthill, take it out of the site in a large barrel and release it.
Of course, there are many insecticides, traps, lures and other chemicals, as well as banal hunting belts, which ants stick to, as soon as they begin to move up and down the trunk in search of aphids.
But still more effective than insecticides, there is nothing. The most famous drugs for removing ants from the site are Anteater, Muratsid, Ant. The basis of these drugs is the substance "Diazinon", which literally affects the nervous system of insects, which leads to their paralysis and death.
First of all, we create barriers in the area, we plant onion, garlic, mint, marigolds along its perimeter. We periodically fight weeds, remove all exfoliated bark from trees, where aphids cannot lay eggs for the winter, bleach trees and shrubs with a mortar of lime (it is a wonderful disinfector), remove all root shoots, leaves on it remain soft longer and graze on them longer aphid.
We carry out preventive spraying, feed and water plants in time, raising their immunity, in every possible way we attract birds and beneficial insects to the site, including using the minimum amount of chemistry, and of course, we fight with ants.
That's all, if you have your own proven folk ways of fighting aphids, then write about them in the comments, we will welcome any useful message!