What are Aphids?
Aphids easily venture into indoor and outdoor gardens. They are small, soft-bodied insects that multiply quickly, thus you need to control them before they start reproducing. Female aphids do not need mating to reproduce. They excrete a living female offspring between 3-100 times daily.
Aphids are very tiny, and often invisible to the naked eye. A 10x magnifier can be used to spot aphids on your plant. They range in colour from white, black, brown, gray, yellow, light green, to pink! Some have a waxy or woolly coating, pear-shaped bodies with elongated antennae; the nymphs look similar to adults. Most species have two chronicles projecting from their hind.
Mostly adults are wingless, but some species can develop wings when overpopulated and travel to other plants. Aphids usually feed in groups.
Aphids feed on a wide variety of plants, but some species can be specific to particular plants. For example, bean aphids, cabbage aphids, potato aphids, green peach aphids, and melon aphids.
Aphids pierce the stems of plants – preferring succulent new growth – to suck out the nutrient-rich sap, thus weakening the plant and causing it to die. Aphids carry lethal viruses which infect a host plant as they feed. These viruses can easily damage potatoes, citrus fruits, and grains. Furthermore, the honeydew secreted by aphids creates an environment for sooty moulds which spread quickly to coat the plant leaves and deprive it of sunlight.
- To find aphid infestation look for symptoms like curling, stunted, or yellow leaves. Check the undersides of leaves, as aphids love to hide. Read about why your plants are turning yellow.
- If sticky substance appears on the leaves or stems, that might be an indication that aphids are affecting the plant. This honeydew can attract other insects, such as ants.
- The honeydew can develop a fungal growth known as sooty mould, causing both branches and leaves to appear black.
- Flowers or fruit can deform due to feeding aphids.
- Some aphid species cause galls affect the roots or leave too.
Control & Prevention:
1. How to get rid of aphids?
- Before opting for commercial insecticides try some home remedies or organic pest control methods.
- Spray cold water on the leaves to dislodge these pesky pests.
- Dust the plants with flour as it constipates the pests and prevents rapid reproduction.
- Use insecticidal soap or horticultural oil to spray the plant. Buy spray pump online.
- Wipe or spray the affected plant leaves with a mild solution of water and a few drops of dishwashing detergent.
- Mix 1 quarter of water, one tsp of liquid dish soap, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Do not dilute this mixture before spraying on plants.
- Organic methods involve using soapy emulsion, horticultural oil, and pyrethrum spray. If using Soapy water reapply every 2-3 days for two weeks.
- You can use homemade garlic or tomato-leaf sprays too.
2. How to prevent aphids?
- Prevent aphids on fruit or shade trees, by spraying dormant oil to kill overwintering eggs.
- Invite insects that feed on aphids like lady beetles, lacewings, and parasitic wasps.
- Plant flowering groundcovers to attract predators.
- Companion planting is beneficial in keeping aphids away. Plant catnip, to keep aphids away from Broccoli plant Nasturtiums next to it; Garlic and Chives keep aphids in check when planted near lettuce, peas, or rose bushes.
You can choose from a wide range of products to combat aphids attack from Ugaoo.com. Below are a few recommendations: Do you have more tips for controlling aphids? Let us know below. In case you cannot figure out the kind of infestation on your plants, feel free to send us a picture on firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to help!