A Gardeners Worst Nightmare

Hello everyone,

So I noticed the other day that my Tomato and Basil sprouts I started are suffering. They were looking really good at first but now they are sad and dying out. I first noticed the Basil, I had so many sprouts and now it’s like they laid down and gave up on life. What has caused this?

Some of the sprouts that appeared to be suffering I pulled up out of the dirt only to find little to no root system. Parts of the stems look almost translucent but has almost a bruised look at the soils surface. I pull these buggers out and look real close only to discover I have a pest.

You may or may not remember I had an issue a while back with Fungus Gnats. I bought sticky traps and a spray, there were casualties then as well. Turns out I had wrongfully diagnosed my plants with Fungus Gnats when I had and in fact still have Root Aphids. The adult flyers of Root Aphids look very similar to the flyers of Fungus Gnats. You need a magnifier to actually tell the difference between the two. Often times these two pests can be wrongfully diagnosed for that reason. It’s only when you take a look at the life cycle of the two that you see the major differences.

life-cycles
http://www.evec.ethz.ch/research/completed_projects/sex_asex_Mp

Fungus Gnat

Fungus-gnat-life-cycle
https://sustainable-farming.rutgers.edu/farm-calls-a-greenhouse-walk-of-doom/

 

From the research I have conducted on these discovering Root Aphids is basically discovering a death sentence for your plants. There is not a lot of helpful information out there and apparently it is an epidemic among cannabis growers. Almost every article I click on or every search query there is a pot grower discussion. I read about cannabis grows for almost an entire evening one night on a pot forum. A lot of people have been affected by this and are blaming clones or purchasing dirty soil. I don’t know how I got these buggers maybe it was soil, maybe it was from a plant I bought, I may never know, the reality is that these death bringers are here and it is nearly impossible to get rid of them. I am not hearing many success stories and the ones I do they have harvested, bleached everything, and started over from nothing. Now I don’t think I need to say this but I’m not growing dope here and I’m not growing a profitable harvest either. That being said some of the chemicals these gardeners are mentioning and the dosage and frequency of treatments may be out of my budget. Even than none of the products being mentioned are showing a very high success rate. According to the dope growers. In fact most individuals are suggesting two or more different treatments at a time. From what I have read these growers are saying that it may appear they have got rid of them and than they come back. The adult flyers are more typically seen during the fall, and that may be why some of my yellow sticky traps are coming out clean. When I treated my plants with the gnat spray I may have starved a few off but the Root Aphids hid deep in the soil enjoying their buffet. These silent and almost invisible killers are devastating my plants and may have been for quite some time. The other major issue I’m learning about with these nasty critters is that they can be also risking my plants for disease. They are leaving saliva secretions on the plant and roots that may make the plant more susceptible to disease.

If your seeing signs of a Root Aphid chances are you have a heavy infestation. Signs to look for are; very thirsty plants that don’t seem to be growing much, discoloration of leaves, leaf drop, signs of magnesium deficiency, little flyers around and on your sticky traps,  also look closely at your soil shortly after watering, you may see very small quick moving crab like white insects moving around the surface of your soil, this is a telltale sign you may have Root Aphids. I am seeing all of these things,  so now that I am aware of the infestation I need to figure out what I’m going to do. I’ll be taking a trip to my garden nursery to see what they got and price out my options. It may be in my best interest to just toss everything and start over, the very thought of that is devastating but it is an option I have to consider.

Oh I am getting the hibbie jibbies just thinking about these death bringers infesting my plants!

I don’t know what to do, I don’t know if I should try to fight them or admit defeat now and toss them all out.What would you do, attempt the fight or start over? Have you seen these buggers? If you have, I’m sorry. Do you have any success or horror stories regarding these ninja death crawlers? If so please share with me preferably success stories but I’ll take the horror stories too. Either way I’ll update you with news, my decision my progress and hopefully my success story.

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10 thoughts on “A Gardeners Worst Nightmare

  1. Oh dear. That sends me into a panic. An old fashioned treatment for fungus gnats is to set out lids or shallow containers with almond oil in them. The gnats love the oil, and drown. I wonder if it will work for the root aphid fly. The other thing that might help is topping all pots with sharp grit. They like a moist compost to lay their eggs in. Deprive them by keeping the pots dry and gritty. Water from below and keep humidity down. I now microwave all compost before using it in the greenhouse to kill any possible pests. The greenhouse was cleared and disinfected before the start of the season.all the very best with your gardening. I shall keep looking in on you to see how you are getting on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea I tried with wine and aple cider vinegar and all the typical fungus gnat traps but the root aphids are not interested… I have been starving them off by keeping the plants dry but I’m ot sure how well it is actually working. I am not seeing as many, and there is lots of new growth. I’ll absolutely keep you posted. I am excited about some seedlings I lazily threw outside though so look for that post coming soon!

      Liked by 1 person

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