Bugs on the Balcony


My husband and I have a thriving little garden on our 8th floor balcony. We are growing tomatoes, cucumber, vining beans, pole beans, radishes, zucchini, kale, and a variety of flowers and herbs. However, this year there has been so many insects we have struggled to keep them under control. All of the vegetables have little white flies on them and the vining beans have small, long bright green insects on them (maybe these are aphids?). We are using a soapy spray to get rid of them but we also have leafcutter bees who use up our basil when they are laying their eggs. We love the bees and have encouraged them to stay by planting bee friendly flowers. Will the spray deter them and if so, what can we do instead? Thank you!


Very nice to hear you have been enjoying your thriving garden on the 8th floor balcony.

OK the secret is out in the insect world  that you have such an inviting garden up there.  Cudos to you for practicing organic methods and supporting our buzzing friends.

It is likely that leaves sprayed with insecticidal soap would be a deterrent to the leaf-cutter bees.  Depending on how much space you have on your balcony you may want to consider separating out a few sacrificial host plants that you can leave soap free, which the bees can still enjoy.

Whitefly populations are controllable with proper insecticidal soap application, but there are also some cultural measures you may want to consider.  Whiteflies thrive within dense growths combined with poor air circulation.  Depending on the size and space availability of your garden on your terrace, if at all  possible to move to more open air circulation.

You might find it helpful to reduce density of your growth, and also mix in  more variety in your plant groupings.

To further aide you in your organic methods here are a few more references for you;

Pesticide free Gardening: A How to Guide for a Healthy Yard