Whenever you plant broccoli in your garden, a pest can attack them. And one more than common are aphids. These are small insects that feed on the sap that they extract from the stems and leaves. And if you don’t control them in time, they will make your broccoli sick and can even kill them. You can find puglones of various colors; including black, green, yellow, white and red. Regardless of the color it is, in this post we will see how to get rid of aphids on broccoli.
We will analyze several of the most conventional and safe methods to kill and / or prevent the attack of aphids. Anyway, and as I always say in these articles, the most important thing is to periodically monitor the pests in your garden. This is because it is always easier to control a pest when it is in its early stages. An overly advanced pest may not have a solution and the consequences will be serious for your plants.
1. Aphid damage on broccoli
You and I know that having aphids on the plants in our garden is not a good thing. But how much do you know about aphids? What damage can they cause in a broccoli plantation?
To talk about the damage that these small insects can cause, we must separate between direct damage and indirect damage. Let’s see what each of them are.
1.1 Direct damage
Like many other insect pests, aphids feed on plant sap. Thanks to the suction they make with their oral appliances, they are able to extract the sap from stems and leaves.
When the density of aphids is high you will begin to notice how little by little the broccoli will take a yellowish color. After that yellowish color, and if you don’t control the pest, the leaves will start to stunt and wilt. Reaching an end point of total plant death.
Another direct consequence of aphids on broccoli is the decrease in market value. The mere presence of some aphids makes the sale value of this product drop considerably, and it can be totally rejected. Nobody likes to eat aphids on their broccoli. 🙁
1.2 Indirect damages
Aphids have the peculiarity of being a pest that generally does not come alone. As we mentioned at the beginning of the post, aphids defecate excess glucose and this attracts ants a lot. To such an extent that the ants are responsible for protecting and transferring the aphids. Therefore, you will have to take care of two pests, aphids and ants.
But the droppings not only attract ants, they also favor the proliferation of saprophytic fungi. These fungi cover the leaves of your broccoli causing problems for the photosynthesis of the plant.
And you thought aphids, ants and fungi were enough. Well no, there is something else left. In the sucking process that aphids carry out, they are capable of transmitting more than 20 harmful viruses to your broccoli. In general, winged aphids are the ones that transmit these viruses the most.
2. How to get rid of aphids on broccoli
We already know what damage our broccoli is exposed to if it is attacked by aphids. Now let’s see how we can combat them to prevent them from causing such damage.
We will analyze five methods, the first four are to kill aphids, while with the fifth what we will do is protect the plant to prevent aphids from reaching it.
2.1 Insecticide for aphids
The market for insecticides to kill aphids is very large. We could mention dozens of insecticides for aphids. In order not to extend the post too much, I will only recommend three of the most popular:
- BioAdvanced (Control of insects, diseases and mites): it is a broad spectrum insecticide capable of killing various types of insects (we already recommend it to kill armyworms). It is also very effective for the control of certain diseases and fungi. This will help you in case of the presence of fungus next to the attack of aphids in your broccoli.
- Bonide Pyrethrin: insecticide that quickly and effectively controls various types of insects such as aphids, beetles, fabric worms, leafhoppers, etc. Its design is intended to be used in garden plants such as broccoli, asparagus, beans, peppers, spinach, tomatoes among others. others.
- Ortho (Insect, mite and disease): like BioAdvanced, this insecticide not only kills insects but also controls some diseases such as fungi. This makes it a more than good insecticide for attacking aphids on plants like broccoli.
Whichever insecticide you choose to kill aphids, you need to be careful. Read the instructions on the package carefully. Remember that if you use these types of products irresponsibly, you can cause serious damage to health and the environment.
2.2 Homemade spray for aphids
When a pest attacks the plants in our garden or orchard there are always home options to control it. The case of aphids in broccoli is no exception. There are a large number of homemade recipes, some more effective than others to combat them.
Among the most popular homemade solutions are soap and water (We already recommend this homemade spray to control the attack of thrips). You can place a couple of teaspoons of liquid vegetable soap in half a liter of water. With this you already have a fairly effective aphid killer spray.
Another very popular homemade and organic recipe is the use of neem oil. Put a tablespoon of this oil, 1/3 of a tablespoon of liquid dish soap in 5 cups of water. After mixing well, you have a homemade bug spray that you should use to spray your broccoli. Do it early in the morning to avoid the strong afternoon sun.
Finally, I will recommend a spray based on garlic oil. To do this, you must mince several cloves of garlic and mix it with four teaspoons of vegetable oil. Let the garlic sit with the oil for a day and then add a teaspoon of dish soap and a liter of water. Ready now you can use it to spray the plants and kill the aphids.
2.3 Traps to control aphids
A somewhat less conventional way than insecticides and homemade solutions is to use traps to control aphids. Used correctly they can be quite efficient, not only in controlling the pest but also in monitoring it. If you find aphids inside the traps, they notice the presence of these insects in the place.
The most used traps for aphids are colored traps. They are based on the attraction that yellow color exerts on aphids, with a light absorption spectrum of approximately 500 to 600 nm. They are internally painted containers of said color and in which water is put, which acts as a catchment element. There are several models of traps, here below I leave a photo of one of them.
2.4 Aphid predators
One of the most natural and least harmful ways to get rid of aphids is through the enemies that these insects have in nature. These enemies can be predatory insects or parasitoids.
If a predator must be mentioned, undoubtedly the most pupular are ladybugs. It is a voracious predator of numerous pest insects, both in its larval and adult stages. A good family of ladybugs can eat hundreds of aphids in one day. There are certain products that work as lures to attract ladybugs and thus call them to eat aphids.
Among the parasitoids there are several varieties of wasps such as Aphidius Colemani or Aphidius Ervi. Depending on the species, they can be more or less effective depending on the ambient temperature. Generally, at low temperatures, below 10 ° C, the adults of these wasps are inactive, unable to paracite.
2.5 Anti-insect net
So far we have seen all the methods to kill aphids found on your broccoli. But there are other methods that can prevent the attack without killing the pest. On this occasion I can recommend the use of anti-insect net.
You should not cover your plants with any type of net. Remember that plants need sun and have some air circulation to grow healthy. That is why you must use specially designed networks.
If you search, you will find that in the market there are different types of meshes that you can use in order to control aphids. What these screens will do is cover your plants significantly reducing the amount of pests that enter while maintaining adequate airflow. You will not be preventing 100% of the aphids from entering but it will significantly decrease the number.
3. Is it safe to eat broccoli with aphids?
It is difficult to exterminate all the aphids in our garden 100%, so when it comes to harvesting your broccoli it is very possible that there are some aphids. And this is when many wonder, is it safe to eat aphids with broccoli?
In principle and to answer this question easily I can assure you that if you like vegetables, surely you have eaten aphids on more than one occasion. These critters are so small that it is very difficult to wash the vegetables to the point of eliminating all the aphids. So throughout your life there is no doubt that you have eaten several aphids.
From there we can draw this conclusion; If you have already eaten aphids and they have not done you any harm, we can assure you that they are not poisonous or anything like that. In any case, it is always good to wash the broccoli very well before cooking it. Because although aphids are not poisonous, at least for me, I do not like to see any kind of insect on my plate.
- All about broccoli – farmer.gov.in
- Broccoli production in California – ucanr.edu
- Aphid Natural Enemies and Biological Control – digitalcommons.usu.edu