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Root aphids: Out of sight, out of mind?

For the last 6 months, we have been receiving an influx of inquiries from growers on root aphid management, and if it is even possible. We have seen facilities shut down, soil trashed, and thousands of dollars spent trying to eradicate these tricky pests. We are going to briefly touch on some of the products we have had success with, and the application rates/intervals associated with each one.

Some of the key solutions to managing these pests are by using the following biologicals:

·        NoFlyWP (Entomopathogenic fungi)

o  Attacks the aphid through penetrating the cuticle and secreting toxins

·        Azaguard (Azadirachtin – IGR)

o  Prevents molting between larval, pupal and nymphal stages

·        Lacewing cards (Green Lacewings)

o  Actively feeds on aphids around the pot area and on the surface of the media and any that crawl up the stalk

How severe is your pressure?

Depending on your Root Aphid pressure, you may only need one or two modes of control to get ahead. For more moderate-severe infestations, utilizing multiple modes of control to break up the fast life cycle will yield the best results. These products work synergistically and are some of the most affordable/plant friendly options for managing Root aphids on a small or large scale.

Application Rate/Frequency

  1. We always advise following the labeled rate at the maximum strength to ensure you are not building up resistance. This goes for all products you are using.
  2. For moderate to severe infestations: NoFlyWP & Azaguard can be tank mixed at maximum strength on a weekly basis until the infestation is brought to a baseline. Consider sprenching the pots/media surface/drippers if active adults are moving around.
  3. For moderate to severe infestations: Lacewing cards can also be used, being hung at the base of the plant off the soil surface, they will feed on aphids on the media surface, on the stalks, and around the general area of the plants. They come as eggs on a card and all larval stages feed on aphids. Reintroduction of these cards is recommended every 2-3 weeks, pressure depending.
  4. For mild infestations: We recommend utilizing the combination of Nofly WP and Azaguard at maximum strength weekly in order to get ahead of the aphid population. It takes a significant amount of time to manage (~4-6weeks) when it moves into a more moderate severe pressure and is best managed preventatively. Lacewing cards are not necessary yet but will help with any that try to recolonize other areas. They also help preventatively with thrips, mites, and foliar aphids.

Preventative Biologicals

·        Stratiolaelaps + Dalotia Coriaria (Rove beetles)  These predatory mites and rove beetles are great to have in the soil as they have an antagonistic effect on the root aphids and can feed upon the immature Root aphids.

·        SF nematodes  Applied weekly, SF nematodes can help reduce root aphid populations and mitigate outbreaks. They also help with pupating thrips and fungus gnats.

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