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Aphids Love the High Temperatures

High temperatures for extended periods of time in the Salinas Valley this summer continue to cause an influx of aphids on broccoli, cabbage and kale. Aphids love the heat and it is almost impossible to control organically. We see this happen with organic produce every year when it gets too hot. We asked Lakeside Organics and Josie’s Organics their thoughts on aphids in the Salinas Valley.

Kyle Paul Vilhauer from Lakeside says As far as aphid and heat are concerned there is definitely a direct impact in our specific location. When it gets really hot in Watsonville this time of year the hills around us start getting dry. When the hills are dry there is less food for the aphid. The aphid head directly downhill to our fields for food and water (our plants and fields). During the warm summer months we always have heavier aphid pressure due to this happening. We combat the aphid a few different ways since we cannot spray. We use a lot of beneficial predatory bugs, bugs like lady bugs LOVE to eat aphids” Lakeside is currently testing out a new bug vacuum designed so suck up the aphids right out of their fields.

Rodney Braga, President and Farmer for Josie’s Organics says, “The recent weather has brought on more aphids, and by farming organically, we grow in a natural environment free of synthetic pesticides.  We try to control destructive pests with methods, such as, planting beneficial flowers to attract good bugs to mitigate pressure from unwanted bugs (in this case, aphids) – we do not intend for any bugs (beneficial or unwanted) to be present on our vegetables, but they do sneak in from time to time .  We do our best to implement a healthy crop rotation and to strategically choose our ranch locations.  All of which depend on climate and time of year.  Although we are no match against the weather, we do all of this in hopes to control aphids to the best of our abilities.”

Check out Earl’s Produce Buyer’s Notes posted each week on our website blog for all the updates on organic fruits and vegetables.

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