Need help surviving the aphid-pocolypse

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Joined: Fri May 08, 2015 4:33 am

Need help surviving the aphid-pocolypse

Post by campingPally » Fri May 08, 2015 4:53 am

Putting this in this forum because it's cherry tree related, but if there's a bug-specific forum area then it could get moved there but I didn't see one. Maybe there needs to be a bug area? But this is specific to my poor cherry trees.

So I'm a Pacific Northwestern'er and for a long time the aphids have had an alliance with the sugar ants and love to use my struggling newbie cherry trees as their farming area for the last 3 years. In case you are unawares, aphids are normally easy prey for things like lady bugs I guess, but the sugar ants harvest the aphids and will protect and guard them viciously which means nothing hardly ever gets the aphids off the trees and they naturally curl up the leaf which also protects them from the elements, gwaah!

Adding multiple trees seems to have only given them multiple places to hide in. I guess it isn't a problem when the trees get bigger but for now they are still SEVERELY stunting the growth of two of my trees and it's just breaking my heart because my trees are trying SO HARD! Sort of irritated because I can't remember which tree is which kind of cherry so maybe aphids can't deal with the middle one for some reason because they won't touch it and it's doing amazing for whatever reason and doubled in size while the one on each side are struggling very very bad. The poor things. :-( I won't replace them because they are trying SO HARD! :-( :-(

So I go out there every few days and make sure the aphids and sugar ants aren't up to their harvesting shenanigans together and make sure to clean the leaf off if I find an aphid starting to get harvested or clip the leaf if it is too far gone. If there's no aphid/ant farm on the leaf but it's crinkly I leave it alone because I assume it still helps with photosynthesis? And these things are so beat up from 2 and 3 years of aphid/sugar ant abuse respectively that I don't even want to rob them of one leaf.

I've also started using sealant spray to make sure they're as absolutely protected on all of their bigger wounds as possible and I keep them neat and trim and tidy as I possibly can. They're my babies! (besides my blueberries that are between them nicely spaced.

So I've read all I can find to read but can't find anything to really help. Some people say slather vaseline on the tree trunks to keep the ants off but that sounds so weird. Other people have said there are ways to buy tons more lady bugs which I'd be fine with but since sugar ants and us have to peacefully coexist since they infest about every 2 feet from Seattle, WA to Eugene, OR West of the Cascades........

Has anyone found a good way to protect cherry trees against the sugar ants so the rest of mother nature can take care of the darn aphids! :(

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Re: Need help surviving the aphid-pocolypse

Post by techman » Thu May 21, 2015 10:49 am

If you can get a mustard bottle from the dollar store it makes a perfect diatomaceous earth dispenser.

Get diatomaceous earth from Tractor Supply in the animal feed section for dirt cheap. A large bag costs $10 and will last you many years.

Put it in the mustard bottle and spray the powder on the aphids.

The diatomaceous earth acts like little razor blades on their soft bodies and kills them. I use this to kill mites on my chickens, protect my garden veggies from worms, kill fleas on my cats and much more.

You can take it internally if you get food grade to kill parasites inside you as well. I am currently treating my cats for worms with this stuff.

When you puff it out on the tree leaves, be careful not to inhale it. You can safely eat it but it is not good in your lungs.

That should do the trick nicely

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