View Full Version : Banana peels and aphids??

Sweet Basil
April 21st, 2009, 09:05 AM
I received an e-mail today about the health benefits of bananas. Near the end, it said to hang banana peels on the branches of your rose bushes and the aphids would be gone within a day or two.

Has anyone heard of this or tried it? Is it just a silly joke? I know banana peels in the soil are good for the rose bushes...but I don't see why they would make aphids leave.

April 21st, 2009, 06:04 PM
You can just spray aphids off with water. They congregate beneath the leaves, so spray the undersides of the leaves to knock them off. Aphids are fragile, a hard stream of water can kill them. You could also use soapy water, not antibacterial, just a teaspoon of plain dish soap in a hose sprayer. I cannot imagine that banana peels would repel aphids. Banana peels hanging on rose bushes would be rather unattractive, even if I'm wrong and they do repel aphids! :)

Sweet Basil
April 22nd, 2009, 09:04 AM
Thanks for your reply. I thought it was probably some kind of joke to see who would be crazy enough to hang ugly peels all over their pretty roses, but I decided to embarrass myself and ask about it anyway. I've been spraying with water and casteel soap for the last 2 weeks and the aphid population is dramatically reduced in my rose beds! Last year I made the mistake of spraying bug spray on the young, tender growth in early spring and nearly killed all my roses. I'm going "organic" and "natural" from now on.

Is it OK to spray the soapy water on plants in the garden? Would it build up in the soil and cause any problems? My lettuces and mint are buried in aphids.

One more question: Can the soapy water harm lady bugs in any way? I accidentally sprayed one the first day I used the soap mixture. I would hate to kill, harm, or run off the lady bugs!

April 22nd, 2009, 09:13 AM
Yes, the soapy water will kill most other types of insects, including the beneficial insects. I only use soapy water on squash bugs, myself. It doesn't kill many of the adult squash bugs, but it kills their young. I douse the squash bugs with a bucket of soapy water to minimize the effect on other types of insects which I don't want to kill, like ladybugs. I haven't had to do much aphid control, because the ladybugs do it for me. I usually just spray aphids with a stream of plain water, if I see a bunch of them.

Sweet Basil
April 22nd, 2009, 09:18 AM
I didn't realize soap was so dangerous--ha ha. We used to have many lady bugs in our yard because a nearby garden store released them every year. They have not released any the last 2 or 3 years and the aphid population has exploded. Our roses are in a bad location (on the north side of our house in heavy clay soil). I can't blast the roses with too much water or they suffer. I guess I'll carefully use soapy water on the roses and water blast in the garden. Thanks again.

April 22nd, 2009, 09:28 AM
You can use a hand held plant sprayer. They only hold about a quart of water, so reduce the soap to about 1/4 tsp. That would prevent over watering your rose bushes. You can buy lady bugs and release them in your garden. I wonder why all of those previously released lady bugs didn't colonize in your area!?!

April 22nd, 2009, 10:43 AM
Being curious, I googled a little, and this is what I found: Fertilize Roses with Banana Peel! So not too far off after all!? :confused:

Sweet Basil
April 23rd, 2009, 09:21 AM
We still have some ladybugs, just not like we used to. I did see one laying eggs on a tree in our yard yesterday. :D Is there a way to encourage them to hang around (other than all the delicious aphids I'm providing--ha ha)?

I've been using the little hand sprayer on the roses the way you described for a couple of weeks. I was afraid to blast the hose on them. It seems to be helping. Do you have to spray directly on ladybugs to harm them, or will the soap residue on the plants harm them later, too? Sorry for so many questions.

Thanks for the research, Ajla. I knew that things like banana peels and egg shells in the soil were beneficial to rose plants, but this was the first time I'd heard anything about the peels affecting bugs.

April 23rd, 2009, 10:55 AM
this is a really interesting thread! we have an awful problem with aphids in our broccoli. in googling around, it looks like the banana peels might work. i have dried a bunch over this winter and may try it this summer. they have suggested that since ants harvest aphids, use crushed up dried banana peels around plants and the ants won't go near it.

April 23rd, 2009, 10:59 AM
Soap kills insects by suffocating them. They breathe through their bodies. When soap coats their bodies, they are usually doomed. I imagine wet soapy residue could harm any bugs which come along later, soapy water might drip on them. I don't soap spray aphids so there will be a reason for ladybugs to stay in my garden. When I first see aphids, I usually leave them alone and keep watch for the arrival of ladybugs The ladybugs show up within a couple of days. If there are so many aphids, that they give me the heebie jeebies, I will spray them off with water. This year I saw ladybugs before I noticed any aphids.

How cool that you saw a ladybug laying eggs! :) Did you see the photo in the ladybug thread, which shows what the larva look like? I've seen them in my garden, but had no idea they were larva. I thought they were some other kind of bug.

April 24th, 2009, 07:41 AM
A woman with beautiful roses told me on Wednesday that she chops up banana peels and turns them into the dirt at the base of her roses. She said it keeps them fertilized and also deters bugs.

I'd never heard of that, but I'm going to give it a try; her roses are beautiful!

My yard is full of lady bugs and lacewings. They keep the aphid population down nicely. I have a grapevine that's prone to aphids, but within a few days of seeing them they are covered with lady bugs chopming away!

I'm like you, Lorna; I hardly ever spray the aphids, I wait for the ladybugs to show up and they always do. My grapevine is my ladybug hatchery. LOL!

Desert Rat
April 24th, 2009, 12:18 PM
I'm sprouting slips from a couple of sweet potatoes in jars in my kitchen window and a couple of days ago was floored to see the tips of these slips covered with what I assume are aphids, tiny green bugs just covering them. How on earth would they get inside my kitchen to get to them? My door opens onto a sunroom then a door opens to the outside, I just don't understand how they got in. Anybody else ever have this happen? I do have a few houseplants but have never seen these bugs anywhere inside before. I washed what I thought were all of them down the drain a couple of days ago but they were back this morning. I'm thinking these suckers don't stand a chance of surviving in the garden if they are coming inside my house to eat them! Any suggestions?

April 24th, 2009, 02:23 PM
Aphids get blown in on the wind. Just keep washing them off. Aphids can be controlled.

April 24th, 2009, 02:55 PM
desert rat, i've had that happen too. i just take a bowl of soapy water and stir it up to make a froth. then i take the foam(bubbles) and smother the plants/leaves and stems) with the foam. i leave on for 5 plus minutes, then wash off. sometimes it takes 2 or 3 times, but it works. this year i had white fly from my slips???! same soapy solution worked!

Desert Rat
April 24th, 2009, 05:47 PM
Thanks for the helpful info, I'll just keep washing them off, and try the soapy water. I'm still just blown away at having them in my kitchen!

Sweet Basil
April 28th, 2009, 12:11 PM
How cool that you saw a ladybug laying eggs! :) Did you see the photo in the ladybug thread, which shows what the larva look like?

Yes I did, thanks. They try to crawl on us when we sit on our wooden benches in the back yard.

The eggs were bright yellow as she was laying them. I took my dad over to see them about a week later and they were already gone. I could see traces of where the eggs had been attached to the tree. Little shells from the larva were on the tree in the same area. Guess they hatch quickly.

Here's another question, since you are all so good at answering them (and I have so little time to research anything on the internet): The blooms on several of our roses are "balling" and not opening right. Could that be from me spraying soapy water several times on the developing buds? It's worst on the red roses. The younger, smaller rose bushes, which I didn't spray as much, are doing considerably better.

April 28th, 2009, 08:11 PM
I know what you mean about the rose blooms balling, that happens with a couple of my rose bushes from time to time. I haven't sprayed them with soapy water, so that can't be the reason. I think it might be from frost, not sure.

April 29th, 2009, 08:32 PM
Sorry I'm so late on this thread. Someone told me 2 yrs ago to put banana peels around the base of roses to kill the aphids. I've done it for two years and had no problem with the aphids. It was nice to hear they will fertilize them too!

April 30th, 2009, 08:24 AM
does no one else just take to squishing the aphids? I would rather know I am definently killing them and not just knocking them off for a moment. plus, I find it kind of fun. I have also been smashing cut worms on my cutworm killing rock. or throwing them in the street for the birds. I mostly have issues w/ aphids on tomatoes. they don't seem to bother anything else.

Sweet Basil
April 30th, 2009, 09:09 AM
they have suggested that since ants harvest aphids, use crushed up dried banana peels around plants and the ants won't go near it.

Maybe dried works better than fresh? The hundreds little black ants who invaded my kitchen yesterday sure seemed to be having a ball in my scrap bucket. They were eating the apple peels, but were not detered at all by the many banana peels piled on top!

Fawnmeadow, putting peels around the base sounds much better than hanging them in the plant. Thanks for the info. I just didn't see how this would affect aphids. I'll have to try it, I guess.

Catkittycat, I squish some aphids,too. Problem is, I could squish 24/7 till my fingers froze up and still not kill them all on 6 little rose bushes! Actually their numbers have greatly diminished from using the soapy water (WHEW!). They are still thick on my lettuces, but I'm leaving them alone because I've seen a couple of lady bugs working on that project for me.

April 30th, 2009, 09:48 AM
Sweet Basil, I have no real basis for why it works, I have had a thought in the back of my head that the banana peels may give off some gas or smell the aphids don't like. I had an aphid infestation on some of my houseplants this spring, I sprayed them off with water and they came back. After spraying them off again I did the banana peel thing and they're gone.
May all you aphids dissappear!

Sweet Basil
April 30th, 2009, 09:58 AM
May all your aphids disappear!

Thank you! Thank you! I hope so...

April 30th, 2009, 10:26 AM
thanks for the info fawnmeadow. do you think the banana peels would work under the broccoli plants too? and are you using fresh peels or dried?

March 28th, 2015, 10:51 PM
Sweet Basil, I have no real basis for why it works, I have had a thought in the back of my head that the banana peels may give off some gas or smell the aphids don't like. I had an aphid infestation on some of my houseplants this spring, I sprayed them off with water and they came back. After spraying them off again I did the banana peel thing and they're gone.
May all you aphids dissappear!
I am ready to try that. In the very worst case my cucumbers and melons get fertilized only, without aphid benefit.:p

March 29th, 2015, 07:49 AM
I let them live, because they attract other insect predators. When I first started gardening I lost much of my plants to insects, but just let it go, knowing that they will attract tons of predators -- I love watching insects.

And now a few years later and I have tons of beneficial insects and every year in the spring I find tons of ladybug larvae. Other than allowing the plant-eating insects persist, to attract the carnivores, I also provide habitat, such as various plants and heavy mulch for the insects (mulch provides them with cover in both the hot summer days and cold winters; also, it's a constant source of moisture).

One of my favorite beneficial insects and it does well in any garden http://www.floridagardener.com/critters/Beneficial_Insects/Dolichopodidae.htm

Sweet Basil
March 30th, 2015, 12:02 AM
I've been gardening at our current location for about 10 years. Though we have a lot of ladybugs here, the aphids still populate my gardens and flower beds so quickly that they will cover every inch of some plants and kill them.

Last year I layered most of my garden with 6-8 inches of woodchips and other mulch. From what you said, Roadrunner, now I have increased hope that things will go better with the aphids this year! :) I am also planting Nasturtium for the first time this year, to hopefully attract aphids away from my other plants.

That's quite a shiny little fly, Roadrunner! It looks familiar to me. I showed my daughter, and she thinks she has seen it in our yard before. Maybe they will multiply in my mulch, too! :)

March 30th, 2015, 06:06 AM
This winter I had a couple ladybugs wintering over in the house.
I decided to look up anything I could feed them. In my attempts to search, I kept coming up with banana peels to deter aphids. I also found that orange peels contain a substance that destroys the wax on aphids and ants and kills them!

Here is one of the sources I found...Hope it helps.

March 30th, 2015, 11:37 AM
Unfortunately, no matter how many beneficials we have, we have aphids farming ants, so they can't reduce aphids to reasonable amounts. BBC has a video showing how ants fight off the ladybug...So now I have several borax/sugar/peanut butter baits for ants and refill them regularly-they are very interested, but I find too many dead right in the container, so I have to reduce borax - my goal is for them to stay alive until they go to the nest and feed it to the queen. I read we could also simply feed them cornmeal, which also kills them. I didn't plant cucumbers and melons yet, when I will, I will dig in banana peels immediately. I love green smoothies with bananas, so no shortage of peels :D

March 30th, 2015, 12:56 PM
Easfirst...did you see my link above about orange peel?
May be a better alternative over banana peel

March 30th, 2015, 01:03 PM
No problem, I can use both.