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How to Get Rid of Aphids

Do you have a garden? How well do you maintain it? If you notice yellow and disfigured leaves accompanied by sticky black fluid, and your plants just don’t bloom like they used to, aphids might be the culprit. These insects attract many other insects such as ants and ladybugs. Ladybugs have been known to eat aphids and ants love honeydew. Ants also farm these creatures protecting them from predators and guarding aphid nests in exchange for the honeydew secreted by the aphids.

The sticky and transparent honeydew becomes infested with sooty mold (black fungus) which is damaging to the plants. Furthermore, aphids are carriers, or vectors of many mosaic viruses, such as the Celery mosaic virus, Johnson grass mosaic virus and the cucumber and turnip mosaic viruses. The fruits and vegetables infested with these virus strains due to aphids are rendered unsafe for human consumption. Here’s a little bit more information about the aphids that may be useful.

What are Aphids?

Aphids, also known as plant lice, are parasitic insects that feed on plants. There are over 4000 species of these insects that exist in the world. They grow to about 4 millimeters and have a round abdominal area. They can range from a number of different colors including light brown and green. These colors allow them to be camouflaged in their natural environment. Some aphids are named based on the plants they prefer to feed on such as the black peach aphid or the cotton or coriander aphids.

Aphids have a long needle that they use to pierce the surface of the plant they feed on its sap. There are two plant tissues pierced by aphids’ needles to extract food and water. Phloem contains the sap that is rich in minerals, sugars and other nutrients. Xylem tissues carry water from the roots to the parts of the plant where needed like the leaves.

The other thing is that these aphids can reproduce very rapidly. The first generation braves the harsh winter months as eggs. Females are born from these eggs in the spring and summer. These females reproduce asexually. During the 25-day lifespan of a female aphid she essentially clones herself into 80 live aphids. By fall, the surviving generation of aphids split into both males and females. The males “fertilize” the females and these females lay eggs for the winter.

So how do you get rid of these pesky invaders that run rampant in your garden?

Getting rid of Aphids

  1. Flowering Plants for a quick bait and switch

Carrying out the old bait and switch is one of the most effective ways to guard your produce. Have secondary flowering plants as bait to lure these insects away from your main produce. Tropaeolum and other perennial herbaceous plants like dahlias and zinnias are a good idea as they will effectively act as a lure for the aphids. You can trap the aphids on these plants and spray them with soapy water which acts as an effective aphid killer. It even stops them from multiplying.

  1. Give them a bath

Some cats and dogs hate baths. Well, apparently so do aphids. And not just any bath, aphids hate soapy baths. Mix a spoonful  of dishwasher liquid or liquid detergent in a bucket of warm water. Don your gloves and fill up a spray gun with the water and spray carefully on the plants where aphids have established their territory. Spray in the stems and the underside of leaves to dispose of nymphs, larvae and eggs. Their protective shells will dissolve due to the nature of the soapy liquid and they’ll dry out. Be careful with this method, however. That’s because helpful insects and microorganisms may also die off due to the soapy water.

  1. Encourage birds

Certain birds love to feed on aphids. Chickadees and wrens are two of them. Encourage birds like these to come into your gardens so rid yourself of the bug problem. Install a bird bath to help these flying saviors rescue you and your gardens from your aphid situation. Planting shrubs such as hydrangeas and others helps you to encourage these birds to come to your garden. They can nest in these shrubs which provide shelter to them and protects them from their own natural predators.

  1. A Blast of Water

The next time you’re watering your garden, spray a jet or two in the direction of aphids on stronger plants. They’ll be knocked right off the stems of your hibiscus or orange tree. This method is not encouraged for smaller plants, fruits and vegetable crops as they won’t be able to survive under the intense water pressure.

Guarding Against an Infestation

If you have grown some fruit and vegetable plants in your garden, you are bound to have unwanted aphids. That is if you don’t know how to keep them away. Baiting aphids to keep them off your homegrown fruits and veggies helps and in fact, some veggies repel these insects themselves.

Some very nutritious veggies have strong smells. Consider adding them to your collection. Garlic, green and regular onions do the trick very well. Add some herbs to the garden to naturally repel the aphids from your garden. Oregano, sage and basil are some herbs with a strong odor to keep the nasty insects away from your garden.

Lastly, keep your garden in proper check in order to have a better idea of what the aphid situation is. If you see more aphids than you can handle, spray soapy water, carefully, on them to keep their numbers in check. Remember to maintain a balance of wildlife to help your garden grow. Don’t go killing every aphid in plain sight.

Get Rid of Aphids With Professional DIY Products

If you really want to get serious about getting rid of aphids. There us perhaps no better alternative than using professional DIY insecticide products. These are used by professional landscapers and pest control servicemen when conducting treatments for clients.

For the treatment of aphids we recommend using Bifen IT Insecticide. Mix ¼ oz to ½ oz of product with one gallon of water in a hand pump sprayer. Spray plant to the point of runoff making sure to pay special attention to the underside of leaves and all parts of the branches where aphids are known to harbor. Be sure to inspect plants often (especially new growth) and reapply insecticide if you notice an that aphids have reemerged

Conclusion

By following the steps we provided above and equipping yourself with professional insecticide products, you too can protect your plants from aphid damage. For more lawn care or pest control tips and DIY advice, call us at 800-479-6583 or email us at askapro@solutionsstores.com

 

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