I have an infestation on my broccoli as well as my brussel sprouts. Can you tell me what these are and how I can battle them?
The insects on your cole crops are cabbage aphids.
At this stage, the safest/best way to battle them is to blast the undersides of the leaves with a harsh water spray, then repeat every several days.
You can also use direct hits of commercial insecticidal soap , then repeat as needed, according to label directions.
Whatever your choice:
- You'll get a head start if you physically brush them off the leaves. (If the 'ick-factor' is a problem, wear garden gloves and/or use paper toweling.)
- It's critical to repeat the treatment because you are guaranteed to miss at least an aphid or two which will continue giving live birth to an already pregnant aphid every 20 minutes!
Oh, yes. Here's a heads up for next season.
As soon as you seed or set transplants of your cole crops, add floating row cover to protect them from aphids and caterpillars.
Here's where to download the free publication How to install floating row cover.