ORGANIC CONTROL OF APHIDS ON LETTUCE





Controlling aphids on lettuce crops can be a real problem as they tend to end up hidden deep within the heart of the plant. They can also be well camouflaged coming in several colour forms ranging from green to orange and even pink in colour. Aphids are a well known pest insect that can quickly colonise the soft tissue parts of your plants. They damage and weaken the plant by sucking the sap out of pressurised parenchyma cells just below the leaf cuticle especially on the soft, young growth.

Symptoms: Lettuce aphid likes to feed deep inside the plants, preferably toward the centre on the new leaves. In head lettuce types such the crisphead and butterhead varieties, aphids are found almost exclusively at the heart of the plant.

On the looser leaved varieties such as Cos and Butterhead, just tease out some of the younger, central leaves. Clusters of these small insects are readily recognised and in severe cases, the infected leaves can begin to wither due to the quantity of sap being removed from that area. The foliage can become sticky due to honeydew and may show signs of a harmless black mould called sooty mildew.

Treatment: As an edible crop you should avoid using chemical controls however there are a number or organic solutions that can be very effective. If you are prone to aphid attack then you can pre-empt an infestation by growing under plastic cloches. For early infections you can try blasting the pests off with a hose but this can end up as a weekly task if you are using no other control methods. Keep down weeds in the local areas as these can be breeding grounds for more aphid attacks, and if you want to use a spray to knock them out then make sure that it is organic.

For related articles click onto the following links:
HOW TO COLLECT AND PREPARE LETTUCE SEEDS FOR PROPAGATION
HOW TO CONTROL CODLING MOTH ON APPLES
HOW TO CONTROL FLEA BEETLES ON LETTUCE
HOW TO MAKE A NATURAL AND ORGANIC INSECTICIDE SPRAY FOR APHIDS
ORGANIC CONTROL OF CATERPILLARS
MAKE YOUR OWN ORGANIC PYRETHRUM INSECTICIDE
Sacrificial Planting
THE IMPORTANCE OF LOG PILES TO NATIVE WILDLIFE
UC Pest Management Guidelines: Lettuce Aphid
WHAT ARE THE NATURAL PREDATORS OF PLANT LICE?
WHICH PLANTS ATTRACT APHID PREDATORS TO THE GARDEN

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