What are the little green bugs on broccoli? These tiny green creatures have Brevicoryne Brassicae as their scientific name.
Also called green aphids, these creatures do not only live on broccoli but also on other Brassica genus plants like cauliflowers, Brussels, kales, sprouts, collards, and others.
These little green bugs on broccoli are classified as plant lice that suck the sap of the plant. Once they stay on a vegetable plant, they can multiply easily in large numbers.
They are varied in appearance, like waxy or woolly coating, and in colors not only green but also grey, white, black, brown, and yellow.
At first, the adults do not have wings. Yet once they are overcrowded, some will grow wings to find other plants. The males come in late summer to help in producing eggs. Then the females lay the eggs and make dozens of colonies of them.
What to do with the little green bugs on broccoli
When you buy greens and spot some aphids before cooking, there are three things you can do. The first one is by putting the broccoli under running water.
You could use a pressured sink, faucet, or hose. Wash and rub the greens to remove the insects and dirt. The pressure from running water helps pull the insects away from the florets.
The second one is by soaking the broccoli in a white vinegar solution. The acidic solution should contain at least 10% vinegar and 90% water.
Wait for a few minutes, then little green bugs on broccoli will float on solutions services. Before taking the broccoli off the solutions, rub and check the florets again.
The last is by submerging the broccoli in warm or cold water and then rinsing them. This way surely takes more time that soaking in the solutions.
Is it okay to eat the little green bugs on broccoli?
Some might ‘accidentally’ consume these insects while eating broccoli that hasn’t been washed thoroughly.
Although the insects have been through the cooking process, people who eat them might feel bad for themselves if they know those tiny green things coming into their bodies.
FDA has released a safe amount of ‘consuming’ unavoidable defects on food that include aphids. The amount should be 60 aphids and thrips or mites per 100 grams.
That means it is still safe to eat 12-ounce broccoli with 204 bugs little green bugs on broccoli. Then if you happen to eat them under the mentioned amount, it is okay. No need to vomit, go to the local ER, or drink medicines.
How to get rid of the little green bugs on broccoli
When a glimpse of the aphids appears, it is time for farmers to do pest control. Especially aphids, the control is quite simple. A strong, pressured water spray could remove the little green bugs on broccoli from the stems and leaves.
Yet this action should be followed by regular inspection as there is a high chance that the aphids will return.
For a serious attack, rubbing some neem oil or insecticidal soap on the infected parts will do. Another way is by wiping simpler solutions made of water and some drops of dish soap.
The solution must be reapplied for two weeks every two to three days.
The little green bugs on broccoli: pests and diseases
Not only the aphids, but the broccoli is prone to other pests and diseases.
The possible pests you can find while rinsing them are thrips, harlequin bugs, cutworms, flea beetles, root-knot nematodes, diamondback moth caterpillar, cabbage worms, cabbage loopers, cabbage webworms, and cabbage root maggots.
Besides those little green bugs on broccoli, several diseases that often infect the plants include ring spot, blackleg, white blister, Alternaria leaf spot, clubroot, wire stem, sclerotinia stem rot, black rot, powdery mildew, downy mildew, mosaic virus, damping off, and fusarium yellows.
Viewing those pests and diseases is a little bit daunting. Yet, most are treatable and preventable by applying garden hygiene, watering at the soil level, rotating the crops, spacing them well, planting disease-free seeds, and regular weeding.
Ways to prevent the little green bugs on broccoli
- Plant the broccolis on different dates. The early mature and tall growing plants attract more aphids. Hence, other newly planted broccolis could have fewer aphids because they all come to the early mature ones.
- Attract beneficial insects like parasitic wasps, ladybugs, lacewings, and others that kill and consume the aphids. To attract, farmers could plant foliage plants and flowers near the broccoli.
- Spray some neem oil or insecticidal soap in fewer amounts regularly
- Grow some companion plants that could prevent the little green bugs on broccoli, like catnip, chives, garlic, nasturtium, and mustard. Catnips, chives, and garlic produce some odors that aphids hate. Meanwhile, nasturtium and mustard are aphids’ favorite plants. Planting them near broccoli could be a trap to prevent them from settling in the corps.