Silence of the Aphids : A Journey in Organic Pest Management


Recently, we’ve experienced a massive pet problem in our garden at McClymonds High School. And when I say massive, I mean we have ants and their farmed aphids. They are destroying our harvest.


So, our educator Maya recently led a lesson on pesticides and how horrible they are and ending the lesson by leading the class in the creation of some organic pest management sprays.

The lesson was based around teaching the youth about how horrible pesticides are as they are chemicals uses to kill insects, weeds, and rodents. Maya further explained that fruits and vegetables grown using pesticides usually still havepesticides on them when we buy them. And when we continually eat these small amounts of pesticides every day they accumulate in our bodies leading to long-term help problems.

To further the conversation, Maya ensured that the students understood the importance of washing and cleaning their produce before they ate it in order to clean off most of the pesticides accumulated on their food.

We also discussed “The Dirty Dozen” a list of foods that accumulate pesticidesexceptionally well and thus should be eaten only when it’s grown organic. Here’s the list for you:

  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Domestic blueberries
  • Nectarines
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Spinach, kale and collard greens
  • Cherries
  • Potatoes
  • Imported grapes
  • Lettuce

This conversation led to a discussion on how the food grown in the garden at McClymonds is organically grown and why that is important (hint: it’s becauseorganically grown food doesn’t use chemical pesticides). So, in order to save the garden from its pests some organic pest management spray was made!

And she wants to share the recipe with all of you!


For Aphids and Other Pests:

Prepare this pest management spray to deter aphids and other pests.

·       1 gallon water

·       1 chopped onion

·       4 chopped garlic cloves

·       1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

·       1 squirt of organic, bio-friendly soap (such as Dr. Brommer’s)

Boil the onions and garlic in a portion of the water. After 15 minutes, strain out the chopped onions and garlic and then add the ground cayenne pepper. Add the rest of the water to cool the liquid down and pour into a spray bottle. Squirt soap into the spray bottle as well. Spray on the leaves of the plants. Be sure to rinse any produce if harvested soon after spraying.