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Organic Pest Control
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Aphidius wasps

Aphidius wasps are small, commercially available parasitic wasps that prey on various aphid species. Aphidius matricariae is especially effective against green peach aphids though not very effective others. Aphidius colemani is effective against a much larger selection of aphids, including both the green peach aphid, and the melon or cotton aphid. Neither is effective against potato aphids or foxglove aphids.

Aphidius is slow to respond to outbreaks of aphids, and so should either be used on a regular basis (weekly or biweekly) to prevent such outbreaks, or at the first sign of an outbreak. Use in conjunction with other methods when dealing with severe aphid infestations: it combines well with Aphidoletes aphidimyza, a predatory midge, with ladybugs, or with insecticidal soaps.

Aphidius is most effective with temperatures of 21C/70F or above. Like all parasitic wasps, Aphidius requires moisture, food, and shelter. So-called banker plants are also useful: rye plants (often potted) used to host cereal aphids. Cereal aphids do not attack fruits and vegetables, but do provide hosts for the Aphidius wasps. For banker plants to be effective, they should be placed every few metres.

Aphidius wasps may be used year-round. They should not be refrigerated, but released immediately upon arrival. Like other parasitic wasps, it is very sensitive to insecticides.

See Also

Ladybug, ladybirds, convergent lady beetles
Organic insecticides
Parasitic wasps

Related Topics

Fruits and Vegetables
Rye, winter rye
Insecticidal soaps

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