Location: Los Angeles California, full sun and part sun. We have finally managed to assemble a little mini-garden of some 40 plants, and they have been thriving wildly. Mostly decorative bushes like hibiscus, but also some petunias and the like. Invading enemy: aphids. Panic. What do we do?
The original idea was to surround our hummingbird feeders with a ton of flowers to make it more welcoming to the little birds.
Then things went south. Leaves curled up, yellowed, died, fell off, developed black spots. Closer examination, chilled the soul: APHIDS!
We're peace and love type chumps who are willing to give hippie methods a try, so we gave it the old college try with soapy water + vegetable oil mixture as recommended on the intrawebs. So far - a few days - it doesn't seem to work.
Facing the prospect of losing it all, we sold out the hippie credo and our rotten bourgeoisie nature asserted itself. Jaw set, dead eyes, I faced my wife: Home Depot, whatever poison it takes, it's us or them.
But after the first wave of rage and panic passed, second thoughts occurred. One of the chemical warfare agents recommended is:
Bayer Advanced 32 oz. Concentrate Tree and Shrub Protect with Feed
The mechanism of action seems to be the plants absorbing the poison over a period of time, aphids bite on the plant and croak. Questions and Fretting:
1)Won't the poison work its way into the flowers and nectar, and should a hummingbird imbibe, I imagine this is a disaster? Mind you, I have not seen any bother with the flowers, they go straight for the feeders, but you never know. Then again, I can't imagine soapy water and vegetable oil is a good diet for a hummingbird either.
2)What about other beneficial bugs that might be obliterated by this - are we shooting ourselves in the foot here and poisoning bees and the like (which do come around)
3)How soon after starting that Bayer treatment in the link, does it take for the aphids to go to that Great Leaf In The Sky?
4)Can we do the treatment like for a limited time, kill off the aphids and then stop using this, so that things stop being poisonous, or are we stuck on a pest control treadmill?
5)Are we insanely irresponsible and any decent human being would have a good alternative to buying poison from big chemical companies? Are there better ways of getting rid of aphids without poisoning the environment?
What do we do? Any other poisons or non/poisons recommended?
Urgency: somewhat - I wanted to rush out to Home Depot immediately, but gave myself a cooling-off period until tomorrow. I'm hoping something is left of the plants by the time we are ready to deal with this evil. Faster is better. Thanks!