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Some Maggots Help Control Aphids

Making It Grow Minute

  Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Joy McNulty, my sister by marriage makes a terrific Caesar's salad using her father Dominick's recipe. If you, too enjoy Caesar's salad, then find a spot in your heart for certain flies. The lettuce aphid slipped into the US from Europe in the 1990s and has been especially hard for organic gtrowers to control. Fortunately, certain Syrphid flies, also called hoover flies, have aphidaphagous larvae – their legless young devour aphids! The females can smell aphids and lay their eggs directly in clusters of these plant sucking pests. The eggs hatch immediately and  by day five the larvae eat up to 300 aphids a night. Aphidaphagous – means having a liking for aphids – and for organic lettuce growers  these seemingly yucky legless larvae – aka maggots are a welcome biological control method they get courtesy of mother nature.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.