Aphids: Ahimsa loses again

A few weeks ago, I yanked all but one of my brussels sprouts from the garden because of aphids--tiny, translucent succubi that destroy leaves and sap plants of their nutrients. Aphids favor cruciferous vegetables, and worried about the health of the nearby broccoli I wiped out this favorite of all crops except for one plant.

Located on the far western side of the garden, this babied sprout continues to struggle. Every two or three days I blast its leaves with water happily sending large colonies of bugs to a sodden grave. I shudder to think of the karmic debt, but this is about potential, about a dream of an autumnal meal of carmelized, roasted sprouts served alongside root vegetables and savory chicken.

Cheryl, who has a deep appreciation for the natural world beyond the culinary, asked if we had ants. We do, legions of them.

"Sweep them away," she said.

My eyes widened. And incur more karmic wrath?

Aphids, it turns out, have made an unholy alliance with ants, who lull and protect and carry them to favored food sources in exchange for their sweet excretions. Ants will even "milk" the bugs, stroking them with their antennae, until the aphids release these sugary juices.

Nature's disgusting.

"Sweep them away," she shrugged.

OK ants, make my day.

(I'm going to hell.)



Comments (2) -

August 4. 2010 18:56

Deanna Geldens

Buy some lady bugs. They love eating aphids, and are cute (for bugs anyway). We release a couple of thousand every year in our yard--a legion of ladies. Go girls!

Deanna Geldens |

August 4. 2010 21:22


Ahimsa?????? Please explain!!!

Susan |

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