Information on this subject area was requested by DCFRN Participants in Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Honduras, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Sierra Leone, and Swaziland.
Presenter: George Atkins
Interviewee: Dr. Allen Knight
Before using the information in this item, please read Note 1 at the end.
We at this radio station are part of a worldwide information network that gathers farming information from developing countries all over the world. It’s the Developing Countries Farm Radio Network, sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency, Massey Ferguson, and the University of Guelph.
Through this Network, we bring you information on ways to increase food supplies for your family, or to sell—ways that other farmers have used successfully.
Today we continue our discussion of aphid control at little cost. Here’s George Atkins.
Dr. Knight’s insecticide is made with soap, diesel fuel or kerosene, and water. Very briefly, I’ll review for you how it’s made.
- slice up an amount of soap about the size of an egg
- put it into 3 litres (3 quarts) of water, in a metal container
- heat up the soap and water until it boils and stir it to dissolve the soap in the water
- move it a safe distance away from the fire and pour in about 1/4 to 1/2 a litre (1/4 to 1/2 a quart) of diesel fuel or kerosene
- stir this vigorously as you mix it with the soapy water until it becomes a whitish mixture or emulsion
- add 7 litres (7 quarts) of cold water and stir again.
You now have 10 litres (10 quarts) of a good aphid insecticide—mind you, it’s only good for aphids, the kind of insects that suck the juice from your plants. It’s not for insects that bite and chew.
Now let’s check with Dr. Knight on how to apply this insecticide to the aphids on your plants. He first mentions a sprayer.
If you don’t have a sprayer, I’m going to suggest to you something that I have used that’s even simpler than a sprayer—a broom!
To apply your insecticide by this method, here’s what you do:
Put your emulsion spray in a 10 or 15 litre (10 or 15 quart) pail and make up a small broom or whisk. It can be a little broom you can make up with grass—that’s quite satisfactory.
Dip your little broom into the emulsion, then shake it several times over the plant and that will apply the emulsion to the aphids just as well as a sprayer. Now it takes a little time to do it, but shake it and that gives you the same effect as a sprayer.
This is a perfectly satisfactory method and I’ve used it very effectively in the home garden and for aphids on small trees.
You’ll find on certain other kinds of plants, they attack the stem more than they attack the leaf. In our garden right here, I can show you aphids on my tomato plant. They’re not on the leaves. They’re on the stem.
But if we’re going to use the little grass broom Dr. Knight told us about, how do we get the insecticide onto the aphids on the underside of the leaves or on the stems?
The important thing is to contact, with the insecticide, all of the aphids that are on that plant. It will not be effective if the insecticide is only applied to the top of the leaves; you must get it where the insects are.
The important thing to know is that the droplets of the emulsion must actually come in contact with the insect’s body in order to kill it; because this emulsion blocks up the breathing pores and it actually penetrates the body and even attacks the nervous system of the insect.
Dr. Knight says probably not, but it’s a good idea to wash any fruit or vegetable before you eat it, to get rid of any of the insecticide that might still be on it.
Serving Agriculture, the Basic Industry, this is George Atkins.
1. Information in the previous item in this Package, Item 6, Aphid Control at Little Cost (Part 1 A Homemade Insecticide for Aphids), should be used before this one. It provides all necessary details for the farmer who wishes to make up his/her own soap/diesel fuel emulsion insecticide for killing aphids.
2. Also in association with this item, you might wish to use information from:
Preventing Insect Pest Damage to Crops DCFRN Package 10, Item 9.