Kale is a superfood that people love to munch on for its health and versatility. They are also fairly easy to grow, as long as you live in the desired grow zones and give it the right care requirements. However, while growing kale, you may come across bugs that love this vegetable as much as you do, namely aphids!
Because of this, it may leave you wondering: Are aphids on kale safe to eat? Read on to learn more!
Are Aphids on Kale Safe to Eat?
Are bugs on kale safe to eat, particularly aphids?
You’ve probably seen these pesky bugs, among other kinds of insects, stay on your kale, munching away. Aphids are gray-green and have dark heads, laying eggs under the kale, where they hatch and begin feeding on your greens. You will see kale leaves pierced, which is where they suck on its juices.
This may leave you wondering if they are safe to eat or may do harm to you and your body.
Fortunately, it does NOT.
Eating kale that had bugs on them is safe to eat, and whether or not you should consume them boils down to your personal choice. The bugs you find on kale won’t have any effects on those who consume it! However, if there are too many holes and the kale begins looking soiled and infested, it’s best to throw it away, this is your call.
Instead, the only damage insects do is on the kale itself, which would reduce your harvest, and maybe the quality of the plant and crop. These bugs don’t have diseases that are harmful to people, so it’s safe to say it can be consumed without any trouble.
That said, it is NOT recommended to keep these pesky bugs on your plant and harvest anyway! It’s important to take them away as soon as you detect them on your kale.
If your kale is left unattended and the aphids stay to consume their juices, it ends up infecting the kale to the point it can’t be recovered. This means you will need to remove the dead and infested leave and dispose of it far away from any of your plants to prevent an infestation.
Getting Rid of Aphids
There are also other bugs that do harm to your kale (but will still make kale safe to eat), such as cabbage worms and harlequin bugs. These can also do a number on your kale if left untreated, eventually causing the plant and your harvest to die.
So, how can you get rid of these pesky bugs, especially the plant-damaging aphids? Here are a few quick tips to follow:
- Blast off aphids and other bugs with strong jets of water from your garden hose. Doing this will help knock off the aphids from your plant. However, there are a lot of places to hide in kale leaves, so you might not be able to remove all the aphids!
- Chop up tomato leaves, allowing them to soak in water for at least 24 hours. Then, remove the leaves and put the water in a spray bottle, spraying your kale with this liquid. This works because tomato leaves have toxic alkaloids that kill kale aphids, and the same may go for garlic sprays as well.
- Take some dish soap and mix it with water, which will make a spray. You may also combine this with tomato leaf liquid, making it even more effective when spraying it on kale. With the addition of soap, it stops aphids from breathing and leave a bitter, soapy taste on the leaves that aphids will hate.
- Place ladybugs around your kale leaves, which are beneficial insects that kill up to 50 aphids a day! You can purchase ladybugs or attract them by creating the optimum environment that they will love and feed on. Plant carrots, cilantro, daisies, dandelions, dill fennel, mint, marigolds, and the like.
- If push comes to shove, you may want to consider growing kale indoors instead.
Wrapping It Up
When it comes to aphids and bugs on kale, you may be wary of consuming it, which is normal. Fortunately, it is safe to consume and up to your judgement and kale’s appearance if you would like to eat it or not. If you do decide to consume the leaves, be sure to wash it very carefully to ensure there are no traces of bugs or what on the leaves.
I hope that this article taught you a lot more about aphids on kale and if they are safe to eat. Make sure that you prevent aphids from coming into your kale in the first place and kill them off as early as possible. Happy gardening!