AVA

Plenty of Pests

Plenty of Pests

The Online guide to swipe “right” out of your life.

Indoor food production thankfully does not have nearly as many unwelcome visitors as outdoor food production. However, since no chemicals (e.g. pesticides, fungicides, etc.) are added to the AVA Byte and you’re growing lots of delicious plants, it is no surprise if some insects decide to pay you a visit. 

This guide is an overview of the most common insects you may find around your AVA Byte with information such as: where the insects are located, their turn-ons, turn-offs and vices (AKA the damage caused to the plant)! This will help properly identify the insect so that you can use the best method to eradicate the insect and prevent future unwanted invasions (organic and humane treatments only)!

You’ve been matched with the following insects: 

  • Aphids
  • Earwigs
  • Fruit Flies
  • Fungus Gnats
  • Spider Mites
  • Thrips
  • White Flies
  • Let’s get to know your new visitors a little bit more...


    Aphid

    aphid

     

    Plant stem and undersides of leaves

    About Me:

    • Small (6 mm or ¼ inch) pear-shaped and soft-bodied in a variety of colours such as: black, brown, grey, yellow, light green, or even pink/red 
    • I am the life of the party! I like to hangout in large, densely populated groups
    • I love to drink the sap from new plant growth
    • I am persistent and multiply very quickly

    Turn-Ons:

    • Anyone related to the Brassicaceae family (e.g. kale, mustard greens, nasturtium, broccoli, etc.) 
    • Weak, injured or stressed plants

    Turn-Offs:

    • Cold water being sprayed (we recommend using a spray bottle) onto my home
    • Finding cayenne pepper sprinkled onto my home
    • Hanging sticky tape or UV light trap
    • Strong anomas from essential oil diffusers or aromatic plants

    Vices:

    • Curling, stunted, yellowing leaves
    • I can disform flowers or fruits after I drink the plant’s sap

    Earwig

    During the day, I love to hide on the undersides of leaves or other objects

    About Me:

    • Glossy, flat-bodied (1.3 cm - 2.5 cm or ½ - 1 inch) black or brown body with a pair of curved pincers
    • I am a nocturnal omnivore with a diverse diet; I enjoy eating other insects like aphids and mites and plant organic matter

    Turn-Ons:

    • Herbs, flowers (especially dahlias, marigolds, roses, and zinnias), lettuce, strawberries, beans and beet seedlings
    • Fallen plant debris in dark, moist locations

    Turn-Offs:

    • Alyssum, dill, fennel and calendula, which attract my arch-nemesis: the tachinid fly 
    • Traps like fish, olive oil or soy sauce in a can or a damp, rolled newspaper for laying egg.

    Vices:

    • Holes in leaves, stems and flower buds
    • Eat entire seedlings

    Fruit Fly
    Rotting food

    About Me:

    • A small (3-4 mm or ⅛ inch) brown or tan fly, red or brown eyes and short legs
    • My favourite hangout is overripe or rotting food, especially fruit
    • I have a life-span of 40 to 50 days; I have large families of 500 eggs, which are laid and hatched within 24-30 hours

    Turn-Ons:

    • Sweet beverages, garbage, aromatic and overgrown fruits and vegetables like strawberries, basil, and tomatoes
    • Spilled drinks and food residue

    Turn-Offs:

    • Sticky tape
    • Traps: plastic wrap with small holes or a paper cone over a container with dish soap and red wine, apple cider or balsamic vinegar

    Vices:

    • I can spread potential diseases 
    • Lay my eggs in food

    Kucharski & K. Kucharska/Shutterstock

    Fungus Gnat
    Fungus on moist soil

    About Me:

    • Commonly mistaken for the fruit fly. We are similar in size (3-4 mm or ⅛ inch), but I have a delicate mosquito-like black body and long legs
    • I can live for a week and can lay up to 300 eggs
    • I am very social; you’ll find me swarming around with other Fungus Gnats

    Turn-Ons:

    • Fungus (looks like white dusty mold) growing on the soil surface, where I lay my eggs

    Turn-Offs:

    Vices:

    • Larvae can severely damage seedlings by feeding on the roots

    • Wilting or yellowing leaves and poor general plant health

    • I can spread Pythium - a plant pathogen that causes “damping off” in seedlings

     

    Spider Mite

    White webbing between branches/plant nodes

    About Me:

    • Small as a pin’s head with eight legs, you may not notice me, but you’ll see my web
    • I can be a range of colours: light brown, green, red, or yellow
    • I can be difficult to get rid of - especially if I have two spots on my back

    Turn-Ons:

    • Dry, dusty or dehydrated plants and low humidity

    Turn-Offs:

    • Dislodging me from my home by spraying water (we recommend using a spray bottle) all over the plant
    • Neem or rosemary oil wiped on leaves (apply on the leaves of plants you won’t be eating like flowers, tomatoes, peppers, etc.)
    • Homemade herbal tea of cinnamon, ground cloves, dish soap and water sprayed (we recommend using a spray bottle)

    Vices:

    • Disformed, wilting, and spotted or silver/bronze speckled leaves with holes


    Photos courtesy of SePRO

    Thrip
    Leaves

    About Me:

    • Tiny (0.5-5 mm or 1/25 inch) black or tan-coloured insects with two pairs of feathery wings.
    • I love having large groups of friends together clustered around the plant’s nodes
    • I have a life cycle of 16 days, love to be dormant for months in the winter and therefore can be very difficult to get rid of

    Turn-Ons:

    • Fruits, flowers, and onions

    Turn-Offs:

    Vices:

    • I can make leaves pale, splotchy, silvery, discoloured and scarred
    • I stunt plant growth and damage flowers and fruit and can even spread viruses

    Kucharski, K. Kucharska/Shutterstock

    White Fly

    Undersides of leaves

    About Me:

    • Tiny (1-2 mm or 1/16 inch) winged white (powdery) heart-shaped body with a lifespan of 30 days
    • Very social and when agitated will fly in a group as a white cloud
    •  Can be confused with a small fly, but looks like a moth and acts like an aphid

    Turn-Ons:

    • Warm climates, greenhouses and cozy homes

    Turn-Offs:

    • Being blasted with cold water or vacuumed (especially early in the morning)
    • Yellow sticky tape and other insect traps
    • For leaves not consumed, neem oil or a water-soap mixture sprayed on leaves

    Vices:

    • Feeding on plant soft tissue that can produce a substance which attracts other pests and increases the risk of fungal diseases
    • Leaves can yellow, shrivel and droop 
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