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These days gardeners already recognize the various opportunities Aquaponics offers. Having an indoor garden can provide you a regular supply of fresh produce and allow you to save from buying vegetables at your local market. Moreover, if you prefer to be a commercial grower, this system could also become a steady source of income. Nonetheless, while it has many benefits, gardeners still have to tackle challenging obstacles such as managing common aquaponics plant pests.
In this article, we will learn about Aquaponics plant pests and effective ways to control them. Here are the Top 5 Common Aquaponics Plant Pests:
What are Aquaponic Plant Pests?
Pests are living organisms that can immensely affect plants, humans, or animals. In this particular case, we are referring to plant pests that can wreak damage to your homegrown aquaponic crops. Plant pests are troublesome to growers because they can often result in diseases and trigger delays in plant growth. In the next section, we will explore the 5 common Aquaponics plant pests that you could potentially encounter in your system.
First on our list are Aphids. These tiny, soft-bodied pests often discover their path to every vegetable garden. Aphids are so small that they’re typically unnoticeable to the human eye. There are a variety of these pests that come in either brown, white, yellow, green, or black color.
You will find other Aphids with a woolly or waxy coating. Surprisingly, these pests can withstand just about any region, and they reproduce rapidly. It is essential then to manage Aphids before breeding begins.
Next on our list are Whiteflies. These organisms are directly related to Aphids. Whiteflies are triangular in form, and you will discover these pests in groups on the bottom of leaves.
When these pests feed on your crop, the plant will become fragile and will not be able to initiate photosynthesis. This will lead to leaves turning yellow or pale color, wilting, and delay in plant growth. You will usually see Whiteflies during the warm summer.
Leafhoppers are one of the most popular groups of plant-feeding pests. Folks tend to confuse this type of pests with Aphids. However, if you look closely at their behavior, you will notice Leafhoppers are quicker than Aphids.
There are Leafhoppers in shades of brown, green, or yellow. These pests suck on plant sap and juices, which in turn lessens the crop’s resiliency and turns the leaves brown. Young crops affected by these pests will experience growth delay or deformation.
Thrips are pests similar to the size of a slender sewing needle. You will find these pests in different colors of black, yellow, and brown. Thrips usually have accented, thin wings that are not entirely formed.
When these pests feed on your crops, you will observe tiny white patches with silvery blotches on your plants. It is a result of Thrips sucking the crop’s plant cells. Also, when these pests feed on your plants, it simultaneously transmits a virus that causes slow plant growth.
Last on our list are Mites, which are mainly akin to spiders. These pests have several varieties, and similar to other harmful pests, Mites are nearly invisible. Some indications that you have Mites are small webs on leaves, weak plants, and yellow curling leaves.
Take note that Mites are notorious breeders and their proportion can develop rapidly to a detrimental level. It is critical to deal with these pests immediately to avoid widespread damage in your garden.
Why is Pest Management Important in Aquaponics?
Caring for your plants entails monitoring the well-being of your crops and making sure they maximize their productive potential. Also, it likewise means ensuring your plants do not suffer from damages and diseases brought on by pests. For this reason, pest management is essential to guarantee healthy yield and higher crop production. Below are several effective and simple ways of managing pests in your aquaponics system.
One of the ways to control pests is to position sticky traps just above your plants. This is suitable if your system is inside a greenhouse or any protected environment. To control Thrips, you can place the blue sticky traps. While the yellow sticky cards typically trap pests like Whiteflies.
Manual Removal of Pests
Routine inspection and manually removing insects is a viable way of pest control suitable for many small-scale gardens. You can choose to either remove the insect by hand or utilize a high-pressure water hose. This technique is ideal for sucking pests such as Whiteflies and Aphids.
Manage the Environment
Another way to control and reduce pests is to create unattractive conditions for these insects. You can do this by keeping optimal parameters in your system. As an illustration, note that Mites can’t survive moist and wet conditions. Growers then can position timed misters targeted on plant leaves to keep off pests.
Apply Organic Repellents
While traditional farming uses industrial pesticides, this method is not suitable for Aquaponics since it is hazardous to the fish in the system. Alternately, here are natural insecticides that can help you repel pests and insects. As always, research or consult a fish expert before applying natural or organic methods of pest control.
- Citronella – You can dissolve the product in water then spray on plants carefully. Citronella can repel a wide range of pests.
- Sage or Thyme Essential Oils – Mix Sage or Thyme drops in 250 ml of water. After this, you can spray the mixture on affected plants.
- Garlic oil – Dilute 85 grams of crushed garlic in 15 ml. of vegetable oil. Soak for 24 hours. Combine the mixture in 500 ml of water the next day then spray on crops extensively.