02 June, 2008

Broad beans and marmalade

This isn't a recipe either. I have black fly and ants. Apparently they go together. It's fascinating looking at them and I attempted a creepy-crawly mini-beast lesson with the girls this afternoon. The ants "milk" the aphids. Of course by suppertime both children had forgotten what I was talking about.

Anyway, I looked up the problem and the possible solutions and being an organic kind of person decided that Bob Flowerdew's jam solution sounded cool. No idea if it will work but apparently the theory is that you give the ants jam which they prefer to aphids for a sugar hit and then they eat the aphids for protein rather than milk them. I'll let you know if it works. It was pretty clear that the ants liked the marmalade but whether it will cause them to eat the aphids as well is another story.


Anonymous said...

Have you tried using diluted ECOVER? As it is an organic product, it will kill the blackfly, maybe tha nts too, but not your beans.

Eliane said...

Haven't yet. I'm going to see what's happening tomorrow. If the ants aren't looking murderous then I've got some ECOVER by the sink and they and the blackfly will get it.

BTW what do the blackfly actually do? Everyone on the various sites I looked at seemed united in the opinion that they were a BAD THING but no one really said why.

Anonymous said...

Do it! The blackfly eat, or harvest the shoots that the beans come from, cos they are juicy. Like we didn't know they were...

Die die die!¬

Anonymous said...

The blackfly drink the sap from various plants like your beans, then excrete a sticky sweet substance (sometimes called honeydew) that attracts the ants.

Have you ever parked your car under a tree and come back to find it covered with a sticky substance? This is honeydew.

Some plants don't mind blackfly very much, but others like broad beans don't cope with them very well. Some people have luck just using a spray of water to rinse the blackfly off, but this is never a perfect solution.