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Old 09-21-2009, 07:59 PM   #1
neilHR
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Default More Bugs!

I might have the same problem as some other posts I've seen here but am not sure... This is about the 5th season harvesting my cascade hops, and I've never seen this before. First, I should say that the plants look great, and I had a huge harvest this year. While harvesting, however, I noticed that some of the cones were dried out with brown tipped leaves and a smaller percentage of these had black spots inside. From what I've read, that could be aphids or spider mites (I did see a few small spider webs, but nothing extensive)...

Since I have way more hops than I need anyway, I decided to just toss all the brown ones and only keep the green ones. I got out two big white plastic bowls and started sorting them. When I was done, I noticed that both of the bowls had hundreds of microscopic green bugs walking around in them. These are so small that I'm not sure I would have seen them if my bowls weren't white and there weren't so many. I left them out in the bowls overnight to get a better look today, and it is scary! There seem to be thousands of the little green suckers and they are piling up on the rim of the bowl.

So, question is: Is this normal or do I have some kind of infestation? My considered plans range from just setting them out to dry and hoping that all the bugs walk away, to destroying this year's harvest and maybe trying to kill all the bugs in the process. Any thoughts? If it is an infestation, should I take some steps to rid my yard of the pests before the next growing season? Thanks for any advice.

In primary: Imperial IPA (with frozen home-grown hops from last year)
In secondary: First attempt at a winter brew (possibly a triple?)


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Old 09-21-2009, 09:27 PM   #2
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They're aphids, and your hops should be fine to use. I'm sure that some may disagree, and I don't think that I'd dry hop with them, but once boiled you shouldn't have a problem if some of the aphids stick with the cones through the drying stage. I don't think they will though.


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Old 09-21-2009, 09:29 PM   #3
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And as far as next year goes I'd plan on having some ladybugs available from after the cones are set to when you plan to harvest. I have a tree that seems to attract them right around the time that my "problem plant" has them on the cones. Works out great!
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:42 PM   #4
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Use 'em. That protein may give you a little boost in head retention.
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Old 09-21-2009, 10:43 PM   #5
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Great! Thanks for the quick replies. I did just add a big raised bed garden near the hops this year, so that could be the source of my aphids. What kind of tree do you have that attracts ladybugs?

Guess I'll go dry my bugs...I mean hops...
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Old 09-22-2009, 01:08 AM   #6
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I had some funky looking little white woolly critters that I found out were woolly aphids. The ladybugs and praying mantises came in full force and seemed to take care of them, though.


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