Kales belong to the category of brassica genus and are related to cabbage and other Cole crops. It’s tasty, whether raw or cooked. Kales are pretty, so you can mix them with flowers like pansies and calendulas. They are easy to grow and mange from seedlings to maturity.
However, the challenge comes in when insects and pests start attacking your kales. They are a nuisance, and if not controlled, you might lose your plant. There are so many insects that attack kale, and therefore, you need to know how to kill insects on kale naturally at all costs.
It’s so unfortunate to plants your kales, and right before they are ready, they get infested with insects. Some insects attack even the grown plants. So, it’s up to the farmer to identify the insect destroying the plants.
Lucky enough, these insects are visible, although some are so tiny, their damage is noticeable. Below is a list of the most common kale insects.
These insects are small-sized; they have a smooth body and are green in color. They have a white like coating and lives in large groups. They use their mouth to pierce and suck leave juices leaving it discolored.
Aphids reproduce quickly, so, within a short period, they infest the whole leaf. They also produce honeydew, which attracts fungus growth, leading to wilting. They also lead to slow growth or death of the plant.
The caterpillars are one of the products of a butterfly’s life cycle. If you notice butterflies in your garden, the next thing you see is their eggs. After a short period, the eggs hatch in caterpillars, which start to feed on your kales.
The caterpillars bite the leaves or its edges. So whenever you find your kales without borders or with big holes, its caterpillar infestation. They are heavy feeders, so their feces are all over the leaves and on the ground.
These beetles have small and shiny bodies, and they jump if you touch them. They are between 1.5 -3.0 mm. They multiply quickly, drilling many holes or pits on the leaves. Beetles like feeding on young plants or seedling in nurseries, although they still feed on older plants, but tolerate them.
You cannot mistake these bugs from any other type due to their colorful bodies. Harlequin bugs have a shield-shaped body with black and yellow or black and red patterns. They make stipples on the leaf by sucking the leaf sap.
They lay eggs on the leaves underside, which are black and white.
Beet Armyworms attack in their larvae stage. The old ones are green in color with a line along the body. The younger larvae are yellow to pale green. They make circular holes in the leaves, making it a shell within no time.
How To Naturally Kill Insects On Kale
Kales are a source of vitamins, and most people prefer cooking them before consumption. As much as people like eating them, so are the insects. Sometimes insects destroy kales to the extent of killing them or causing retardant growth.
Therefore, it’s advisable to identify the type of insect to know the right way to eliminate it. However, try as much as possible to keep your garden free from weeds as some attract pests. There are many proven ways of killing insects, such as:
1. Use ladybugs and parasitic wasps
If your kales are infested with aphids, release ladybugs in large numbers to feed on them. Generally, ladybugs feed on aphids, and thus they will significantly reduce their population. It’s a challenging task killing aphids manually.
You can use parasitic worms to feed on leaf miners and kale worms. These worms lay eggs on living aphids, and after hatching, the larvae kill the aphids.
2. Remove insects manually
This approach is one of the best strategies of how to kill insects on kales naturally. Some of the insects you can handpick are caterpillars, beetles, harlequin bugs, and small numbers of aphids. You can also pick the insect’s eggs before hatching and destroy them.
After picking them, please put them in a bucket with soapy water and kill them. Ensure insects die entirely, never to go back to your kales.
3. Sprinkle your kale with soapy water
Mix a teaspoon of soap with fresh water, and sprinkle on your kales. The mixture coats any present insect and suffocates it to death. After drying, the soap mixture tastes bitter, thus keeping off any other bug. Most soaps are nontoxic, so do not worry about the safety of kales.
4. Spray kales with a substantial volume of water
Blasts of water remove insects like aphids on your kale. Due to their light nature, it’s easy to blow them with water physically. However, this method is best for grown plants that can overcome the hits of blasts water. Also, do not use this method frequently to avoid damaging your plants.
5. Use organic sprays
Spray organic pesticides when the kales get heavily infested with insects. Whenever a plant reaches 10% of its leaf-covered with pests or wilting, do not hesitate to spray. However, spray runs off smooth leaves. Therefore, add liquid soap to the insecticide to improve its grip.
The most effective spray for most kale insects, such as beetles and leafminers, is spinosad. Spray the upper and lower side of the leaf, twice per day for five days to seven.
Do not let insects enjoy your vegetables at all costs. Kales infested with aphids seem so bad for human consumption. Therefore, try the above methods and learn how to kill insects on kales naturally without using non-organic pesticides.
Keep your kale garden clean and free from weeds as they harbor insects. Fight the insects as earlier as you notice them avoid heavy infestation, leading to death or kales wilting. After handpicking and killing insects, dispose of them off in a composite pit to finish them.