Friday, July 1, 2011

Aphid control

Just sharing some photos and suggestions regarding aphid control. I'm not an expert and have been growing hops for only 3 years, but the basic seems to work for me so far.

Here's my big hop farm :-).
From left to right, Hallertauer, US Goldings and Horizon.

I wasn't able to get a decent photo of an aphid, too small for my camera to focus, but did find few around my hop leaves.
Here's a photo from the web.

The photo below show insects eggs, possibly caterpillar, that eat the hop flower ( I have seen it in my hops flowers last year), but just wanted to show that many insects are interested in using the hop plants to develop their life cycle.
UPDATE 09/05/12 - These are actually ladybug eggs. Check my other post about ladybug life cycle


Here's the guardian of the aphids. The ants developed a symbiosis relationship with the aphids. The ants protects the aphids against predators and the aphids pay back with a sweet secretion, which the ants are more than happy to drink.

Payday (not my photo).

Here's the hop farmer's natural aphid control, a ladybug. It will systematically search and eat the aphids. If you see a ladybug in you hop plants, be happy and let it do its job.

Here, a ladybug takes a nap. She's probably dreaming about that fat and juicy aphid that she's going to eat next!

Actively searching for pray. If you grow hops (or not), take some time to watch nature at its best!

I got this photo when our warrior was feasting on some insect eggs. So it seems it will eat eggs too, not only the living aphids. Scrambled eggs anyone?
UPDATE 09/05/12 - Ladybug checking its eggs

Basically, if you don't have a huge aphid infestation, just leave it alone. Nature will provide the players to control aphid population.
Check the back of you hop leaves periodically for aphids. If you notice that you have huge counts and it keeps growing, you can use an insect control product for vegetables, like the one I used below. Spray the most affected areas only, not the whole plant as I think it will also kill or scare away the ladybugs.

By the way, the 6 plants I have will produce enough hops for over two years of my beer production!


4 comments:

  1. "By the way, the 6 plants I have will produce enough hops for over two years of my beer production!"

    How much hops is that ?
    I may start growing hops next year and I'm curious.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Simon, last year I harvested 8-1/4lb of hops, which after dried turned into 3-1/2lb.
    This year, I think it will produce twice that, so I will end up with 6lb or more of dried and ready to use flowers.
    My standard beer is low in IBU's, usually less than 20 and I make 5gals batch, mostly with 1oz of hops per batch.
    Even if I was doing IPA's, it would probably yield 2 batches/month for 2 years.
    I'm in Washington state which is the best climate in the world for hops, so other areas may produce less.
    Thanks for you comment!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the infos.
    I'm Quebec Canada and people grow hops here but must have a lot less hop than you for the same amount of plants as summer is shorter here.
    How hard is it to dry it ? does it need a lot of hardware ?
    Simon

    ReplyDelete
  4. Not really, you can use a regular fan and a cardboard box. You can check the link below for a forum on hop growing and look for threads on drying hops.
    http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f92/

    ReplyDelete