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Old 11-14-2011, 01:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Aphids!!!!!!!

So.... I seem to have acquired a number of aphids in one of my emersed tubs. My guess is they came in as eggs with one of the plants that was outside for the summer. They weren't there two days ago, now they're all over my Crypt spiralis and Bacopa caroliniana...

Anyone have any good tips for killing them? I know with terrestrial plants, a diluted soapy spray is a popular method - I'm thinking this isn't likely the best method for plants that may potentially go back in tanks full of fish and inverts.

If sticking a predator in the tub is a better option, I have one grey treefrog (Hyla sp.) and two redback salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) I could potentially deploy. I'm thinking the sallies are more likely to nibble on a bug as small as an aphid - but also likely to have a limited appetite. The frog could, if so inclined, down them all in one sitting and still be hungry, which makes me wonder if he can be bothered to try in the first place. Can't put both in at the same time, though, the frog would just eat the salamanders...

I suppose I could also just flood the tub and drop a loach or two in there for a couple days...
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Old 11-14-2011, 08:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Aphids!!!!!!!

Haha yes I think flooding the tank is the best option. You had me wracking my brain for a solution until your last line. One of the perks to owning aquatic plants I suppose. And we all know how the predator thing would end up - like the simpsons episode where their town gets overrun in the end by getting snakes to eat the mice and cats to eat the snakes and bears to eat the cats or something like that.
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Old 11-15-2011, 07:03 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Aphids!!!!!!!

Hey, I wouldn't get anything to eat my tree frog! He's really cool! (And one frog won't spontaneously generate more frogs, anyway... though he does chirp in the spring to try and lure a mate down into the basement.)

And I'm like totally facepalming now, because it jut occurred to me that I can just dust the plants with diatomaceous earth. It's not like there are any desireable inverts in the tub to worry about, and a quick rinse would clean up most of the leftover if I ever decide to put the plants into a tank.
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Old 11-15-2011, 07:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Aphids!!!!!!!

Two suggestions:

1. Introduce ants.

As far as I've seen the ants protect the Aphids and keep them happy so they can eat the sugary stuff that the aphids produce and realease over the leaves. So you can have a very exciting little civilization going.
More on that:
http://insects.about.com/od/coolandu...sandaphids.htm

Downside:
Aphids gradually weaken the plants. Oh well.


2. Get tiny tweezers. Pick individual aphids. Eating them is optional, but I've tried and yes, they are sweet.



Practical advice from a former professional plant guy - wipe the plants with a wet sponge every day. Just showering with water will not do.

And yes - if you can flood and submerse everything - that's the way to go.

--Nikolay
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:38 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Aphids!!!!!!!

If you want ants come take them from my kitchen. They just found the sugar in my cupboard... too bad I can't flood my apartment.
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Old 11-15-2011, 06:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Aphids!!!!!!!

Just put a few Rivulus in the tub. They are equally comfortable in and out of water and eat ants as well as aphids. What fun to look in on an emersed tub to see a corpulent Rivulus sunning on some moss staring back at you. I wouldn't recommend keeping them in your bedroom though, as they will be pinging and ponging off the walls and lid of the tub all night.
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Old 11-16-2011, 11:22 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Aphids!!!!!!!

Hrmmm... I do have two Rivulus tenuis males sitting around and taking up space in my Ancistrus tank. Maybe I'll add a couple inches of water to give them easier access to the bugs and toss them in... might as well put them to good use since they're not making babies anytime soon. Thanks for the tip.

Niko, I have enough issues with those little gnat things that occasionally fly into peoples' mouths (or eyes); I'm not about to start tasting bugs on purpose. :P

Michael, you can keep your ants. I'm trying to kill the aphids, not hire babysitters for them. FWIW, you might try getting one of those big gallon ziplock bags - especially the kind with the little zipper tabs built in - and sealing the bag(s) of sugar in there. Works for us to keep the stupid pantry moths out of our food
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Old 11-16-2011, 12:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Aphids!!!!!!!

Yes that makes sense. But instead I called the exterminator to come kill them He's coming back for round 2 next week wednesday.

...corpulent hahaha there is a word you don't hear nearly often enough.
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Aphids!!!!!!!

Spiders. People call them spider bros. Because they are there when you need them.

I have six such spiderbros in the corners of my bathroom. They just chill out there and catch annoying flies from my tubs that I brought in as well.

Note:Spindly long ass arm type spiders are your friend. They don't hunt and won't bother you.

Don't go for any hairy spiders, they're a pain in the ass and go all over the place.

Glass tops for the win! Confine the spiders till they get the job done.

-Gordon
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Old 11-19-2011, 09:47 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Aphids!!!!!!!

Sooo... can't figure out where we put the diatomaceous earth, so dusting with that'll have to wait. Meanwhile, I've added a couple inches of water (to make the tops of the pots more accessible) and deployed the Rivulus killies. Not sure that they're actually eating the aphids, but they do seem to enjoy lurking just under the waterline in the gaps between the pots...

I also plucked a couple yellowing leaves covered in aphids (they're killing leaves now!!!! D and placed them in the salamanders' box. Unlike the lazy Rivulus, the sallies are very enthusiastic about hunting down their aphids. I've acquired a third salamander today, courtesy of his spontaneously appearing in one of my tanks. That seems to be my primary method of obtaining herps: they like crawling into my tanks overnight and surprising me when I look in there the next day... this new sally is a thin, scrawny little critter, so I waved an aphid-covered leaf in his face until I saw him lap a couple of them up. He's a cutie.

Gordon, several of your, er, "spiderbros" have already taken up residence in one of the upper corners of the tub. They don't seem to be very effective in the aphid-killing department, but I'm ignoring them because they're small and harmless. I'm actually rather arachnophobic... at least when it comes to big spiders. :P
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