What are those little green bugs on your plants? They’re probably aphids ! Here are our best tips on how to identify and control aphids in the garden.
What are Aphids…??
Aphids are small sap-sucking insects and members of the superfamily Aphidoidea, which feeds by sucking sap from plants and can cause extensive damage to plants.
How to Identify Aphids ??
The tiny insects have rounded bodies, with long antennae and 2 slender tubes extending from either side of their rear end. Depending on the species, they may be white, black, gray, green, yellow, or even pink. Some types appear to be covered with a fuzzy, cotton-like substance when viewed up close.
Aphids are a common pest in all parts of the globe and have been known to infest almost any type of crop, tree, shrub, or flowering plant.
Nymphs and adults feed on plant juices, attacking leaves, stems, buds, flowers, fruit, and/or roots, depending on the species. Most aphids especially like succulent or new growth. Some, such as the green peach aphid, feed on a variety of plants, while others, such as the rosy apple aphid, focus on one or just a few plant hosts.
- Look for misshapen, curling, stunted, or yellowing leaves . Be sure to check the undersides of leaves; aphids love to hide there.
If the leaves or stems are covered with a sticky substance , that is a sign that aphids may have been sipping sap.
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.
Methods to Get Rid of Aphids
1. Physical Removal
For minor infestations of aphids, it may be possible to physically remove the insects from your plants. Don a pair of gardening gloves and brush or pinch the pests from stems and leaves. If the infestation is contained to one or two stalks or branches, prune off the affected portion(s) and drop them into a bucket of soapy water to kill the aphids.
2. Water Pressure
It is possible to spray aphids off of plants with the simple application of a garden hose. While this method may harm younger, more fragile host plants, it can be quite effective at controlling small aphid populations on more robust and well-established plants.
3. Soap and Water
The basic nature of mild household detergents makes them perfect for getting rid of mild to moderate aphid infestations. Dilute a few tablespoons of dish soap in a small bucket of lukewarm water and use a sponge or spray bottle to apply the mixture to plants where aphids have taken hold. Upon contact, the soap will dissolve the waxy protective coating from aphids’ bodies, dehydrating and eventually killing the insects without harming the plant. Remember to also treat the undersides of leaves where aphid eggs and larvae may be hiding!
4. Neem Oil
Neel oil is a natural garden pesticide and insect repellent that can deter and kill aphids. This oil is also effective on other harmful pests, such as beetles, cabbage worms, ants, caterpillars and leaf miners.
- Put 2 tablespoons of neem oil and 1 tablespoon of mild liquid soap in a spray bottle.
- Fill the rest of the bottle with water, and shake well to mix up the ingredients.
- Spray the solution on your plants, either in the morning or evening to avoid the sun.
- Repeat 2 or 3 times a week, or as needed.