Whole Leaf Tobacco

Help: Aphids (natural remedy prefer.)

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I have tried to use the search function and will admit there is much discussed.
Leaning towards dish soap and water but want some real first hand experience as we all know I will be “trying” to smoke it!

(I know my plants are small, it is my first year!)

the varieties are Havana and Corojo.

Thanks!01151DA9-9BE4-42B6-A246-52A7877542C3.jpeg
 

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Knucklehead

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How many plants do you have? If just a few the soapy water will semi-work. If you still have aphids at harvest time you can hose off the aphids prior to harvest or immediately after while the leaves are still fresh (from the field to the water hose). Don‘t hose them off after cure, it will wash away some flavor and nicotine. If you go big next year, I would put this stuff in the transplant water.
 
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Radagast

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I have yarrow growing in the adjacent garden to where some of my tobacco is. The yarrow was completely covered in aphids for about 3 weeks but not one on the tobacco.. so maybe of there was something they liked a bunch more (like yarrow) you could offer them that, maybe get some in a pot and stick it very near your tobacco until they may move off. That would be natural.. Once I found a ladybug somewhere else in the yard I put it on the aphid infested yarrow and it immediately pounced on an aphid like a magnet. It remained there for the duration, until neither aphid nor ladybug were detected, about a week. During that week they went down hard but I don't know for sure if the ladybug wiped them out or they ran their course or both. Long story short, my natural tobacco aphid remedy this year was yarrow and ladybugs. I thought I had a picture but I guess I don't, sorry. Incidentally, the yarrow didn't seem to suffer much, if at all..
 

Radagast

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How many plants do you have? If just a few the soapy water will semi-work. If you still have aphids at harvest time you can hose the aphids prior to harvest or immediately after while the leaves are still fresh (from the field to the water hose). Don‘t hose them off after cure, it will wash away some flavor and nicotine. If you go big next year, I would put this stuff in the transplant water.
I want to try that next year, does it work on grasshoppers and earwigs?
 

Knucklehead

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I want to try that next year, does it work on grasshoppers and earwigs?
Aphids, leafhoppers, mealybugs, spittleflies, whiteflies, lacebug, cucumber beetles, thrips, potato beetle, flea beetle, scale

I used it the last season that I grew tobacco and combined with a spray of BT every couple of weeks for hornworms it took the work out of growing tobacco. One treatment with the transplant water and you are finished with the nasty things except for maybe a few at the very end. If you grow a lot of plants, lifting up every leaf and spraying the underside with a spray bottle of soapy water gets tiresome. I couldn’t keep up and ended up hosing the aphids off the leaf at harvest anyway.
 

Knucklehead

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I have tried to use the search function and will admit there is much discussed.
Leaning towards dish soap and water but want some real first hand experience as we all know I will be “trying” to smoke it!

(I know my plants are small, it is my first year!)

the varieties are Havana and Corojo.

Thanks!View attachment 32107
P.S.- Your plants look great! Big stems, huge tightly spaced leaf. Nice, healthy looking plants. I don’t see anybody doing better than those. Great job! (y)
 

deluxestogie

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My take on the soapy water approach.

A squirt of dish detergent in 3 to 6 ounces of water makes a fairly concentrated surfactant. Aphids naturally avoid dehydration with an outer coating of a lipid of some sort. When you mist the surfactant (diluted dish detergent) directly onto an aphid, the lipid coating is dissolved. The aphid dehydrates, and dies. There is no residual effect on subsequent aphids, but the aphids that get hit directly by the mist are dead. The detergent mist is water soluble, so it washes away in rain or morning dew. I've used this approach to manage as many as 200+ plants. It's a lot of work, since you have to inspect the upper and under surfaces of every leaf, including the auricle (the "frill" where the leaf lamina meet the stalk), and mist any aphids you discover. Under significant aphid pressure (i.e. they really hate you), you need to repeat the misting every week or so. I've never detected any detergent residual on the harvested leaf.

Plan B is to haul out a garden hose, then firmly spray (not so intensely that it bruises the leaf!) the aphids from their chosen leaves. Aphids insert their mouth parts into the lamina, to suck out goodies. Once you wash them away, 1) some have had their probosces ripped off and 2) none of those washed away have a means of crawling back onto a tobacco plant. So they die as well. As with the detergent approach, there is no residual effect on subsequent aphids, so the process may need to be repeated weekly.

Flying aphids (the aphid mothers) prefer to lay their eggs on young and tender leaf. So they often choose auricles, immature main leaf, and sucker leaf. Just keeping the plants relatively sucker-free goes a long way toward minimizing aphids, especially during the late season.

Bob
 

plantdude

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The plants look good.
Bob's answer about the soap and hose method are good. I made the mistake of growing some of my plants under/near a silver maple that always has aphids. My tobacco plants near these trees were covered in aphids. I did the soap and water thing earlier in the season, but it just made a little dent in the population and they would be right back in a few days. Every now and then I would see a ladybug or its larvae on the plants (they're voracious aphid eaters), but I got the impression they didn't care for the tobacco much. I'dd see a few dead aphid around the plants and they never really took off like they do in the silver maple trees. Later in the season I started slacking on the soap and water method and had a population explosion of assassin bugs and lots of little babies. I have not directly observed them eating the aphids but I assume they are. I no longer have much of an aphid infestation. I do have to be careful about accidentally grabbing an assassin bug when I'm priming though:)

I know Bob and others on this forum have good results with the imidacloprid, that may be an option to consider if you are growing a lot of plants. Where I live we have mosquitoes foggers driving and flying by spraying God knows what so personally I'm hesitant to add additional chemicals to my overdosed yard. Since Imidacloprid is systemic you wouldn't want to ingest any of the young leaves. I don't know if it would still be present in the sand lugs at any reasonable concentration, @deluxestogie may know the answer to that.
 

GreenDragon

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I also use the soap technique. However, instead of water I use tobacco tea, which I make out of the small scraps and veins/midribs from my cigar rolling sessions. In my opinion it seems to kill them quickly and they are a little slower to re-infest.

Tip - add a tsp of baking soda and 1/4 cup of vodka per quart of water to facilitate extraction of the alkaloids.
 

plantdude

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I also use the soap technique. However, instead of water I use tobacco tea, which I make out of the small scraps and veins/midribs from my cigar rolling sessions. In my opinion it seems to kill them quickly and they are a little slower to re-infest.

Tip - add a tsp of baking soda and 1/4 cup of vodka per quart of water to facilitate extraction of the alkaloids.
Oh man now you did it! Last time I mentioned I used tobacco tea in my spray Bob yelled at me:) His argument was that the insects feeding on tobacco and other Solanaceae members are already resistant to the alkaloids and that tobacco spray can be poisonous - it could potentially contain high levels of nicotine that can be absorbed across the skin (worth keeping in mind). Bob has some good points and I'm not arguing with him, but I'm still neutral on the matter though since young leaves and suckers theoretically are what tends to get hit by the aphids/flea beetles the most and have lower nicotine levels...

I've stuck with just using my own home grown tobacco when I made it in the past because I don't know if tobacco from other sources are carrying TMV or other viral/bacterial pathogens. I do still use tobacco in combination with soap on my squash and cucumber plants.

That's good to know about alcohol and baking soda being useful for extraction. That must be why beer goes so well with cigars;)
 

Oldfella

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I have tried to use the search function and will admit there is much discussed.
Leaning towards dish soap and water but want some real first hand experience as we all know I will be “trying” to smoke it!

(I know my plants are small, it is my first year!)

the varieties are Havana and Corojo.

Thanks!View attachment 32107
I'm lucky in that I don't have a great Aphid problem. I'm not sure why. When I do find that they are a problem soapy water is the answer. I'm not as technical as Bob all I do is get some of the water from the sink after washing the dishes, give them a good wash down, (don't be frightened to use plenty you were gonna throw it out anyway.)
Cheer's Oldfella
 

plantdude

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I found Bob's reply to my tobacco tea:
 
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Here are some pictures of the aftermath, not horrible. Chose the DE route the but did a one plant experiment with 1-5 dawn dish soap and water in spray bottle followed by a garden hose 2 days later.
all in all I got them (aphids) under control but don’t recommend the DE as it left me with some clean up at harvest.

I attached 2 pictures one is of the DE I will be washing off at harvest and one is the residue/aftermath where the aphids where heavy.

THANKS AGAIN EVERY ONE!
 

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