Re: [tomato] Beneficial Insects to control aphids

Doreen Howard (
Sat, 13 Mar 1999 20:23:47 -0600

The best way to use beneficial insects is to have the vegetation and
conditions to
attract them--i.e. set up a hospitable environment.  Stink bugs were always
a horrible
problem in my tomato patch until I found out from Dr. Bart Drees, an
entomologist at Texas A&M that stink bugs preferred sunflowers over
tomatoes, but settled for tomatoes.  His commerical growers had terrific
luck with planting sunflowers between crop rows as a trap crop.  I did this
(one sunflower at the end of each row of 4 tomato plants) first in 1997 and
it worked.  No stinkbug damage to the tomatoes, and the sunflower faces were
teaming with stinkbug nymphs.  Also, the sunflowers were teaming with
ladybugs, and there wasn't an aphid in the garden on ANY crop.  I've planted
sunflowers ever since in the veggie garden.  I favor the ornamental ones, so
I can use them as cut flowers, and the dwarf varieties like Sunspot and
Teddy Bear.  They take up less room.  I read that sunflowers display some
alleopathic properties, suppressing weed growth, etc.  But, I've never had a
problem with crop failure, reduced yields or anything like that.  I have
noticed that there are no weeds!  BTW, I was gardening in Zone 9b Texas on
the Gulf of Mexico when I used the sunflowers, in a climate very similar to
yours.  Just my experiences for what they are worth.
Doreen Howard
Zone 5b--Central Illinois
-----Original Message-----
From: Orchid <>
To: <>
Date: Saturday, March 13, 1999 4:12 PM
Subject: [tomato] Beneficial Insects to control aphids

>Has anyone used beneficial insects to control aphids in their vegetable
>garden?  How did it work for you?  For those who it didn't work, or didn't
>try, what other method have you found best to control aphids?  I have a lot
>of ants around as well, and I think that they are "farming" the aphids.
>They are mostly attacking the peppers, they're all over the chinese cabbage
>and oriental eggplants as well.
>I remember using lady bugs on my veggie garden up north when I was a
>teenager.  I released them at night so they wouldn't fly away.  Next day,
>all I could heart was pops and sparks as they hit the electric bug killer
>from my neighbors.  I won't have that problem here....but I'd love to hear
>your experiences.
>Pete, Zone 10, South Florida