So an update on my hop harvesting efforts over the Labor Day weekend. I picked hops on Saturday and on Monday, for a couple of hours or so each day, and ended up with hops split amongst 10 paper grocery bags—each of which would probably yield, I don’t know, about 4 ounces of dried hops when all is said and done.
Things were going along great, my initial 6 bags were drying nicely and I was envisioning various beers I would brew with my hand-picked flowers.
Tuesday morning, before work, there were aphids.
Aphids everywhere, coming out of the bags. In the house. On the dining room table, in fact. I don’t know what had suddenly triggered the mass exodus, or even where they all came from (the hops looked clean when I picked them; they must have been hiding deep inside the cones?), but there they were. I put all the bags outside and cleaned up the remaining bugs before leaving for work. (Believe it or not, I vacuumed them up.)
Then it rained. Fortunately, the bags, while wet, didn’t seem to soak the contents (too badly)—my wife moved them to the covered porch. When I checked them after I got home, they were damp, the hops inside were more-or-less dry, but the aphids were still there. So I put the bags in the shed and will just have to wait and see.
At this point if I get usable hops from the batch I’ll consider it lucky, but I’m not holding my breath. Next time my drying methods will likely change; my mother suggested laying the hops out on screens (she has some), and guesses the aphids would simply fall through when escaping.
Do any readers have suggestions about this or experience with hops and aphids? I’d be curious to know how they dealt with them.