Aphids feed off the leaves of your plants and can kill them. They are hard to identify by the naked eye as they are practically microscopic in size. They vary in color from white to black to green to yellow while some are even pink in color. They have a waxy coating with pear shaped bodies and long antennaes. They generally do not have wings but can develop wings when the population reaches large numbers to travel to another plant.
Majority of the aphids prefer to stay in large colonies. When food becomes scarce they will travel to other areas and start up their own colony. All parts of the plant can be victimized from the roots to the stems to the leaves to the flower. They feed off the juice of the plant and prefer younger plants in particularly. The variety of aphids pick and choose the type of plant they prefer to eat on, but there are some steps to take in order to get rid of aphids.
Aphids reproduce fast. They are asexual creatures and throughout spring and summer aphids lay eggs as they can reproduce without the need of a male. Within a few weeks these eggs hatch and are able to reproduce as well. The cycle continues on and on without the need of one male and all of the aphids are female.
Aphids reproduce so fast that you could end up with more than 600 billion before the end of the season. This could happen easily if there are no predators and there is plenty of food resources for these insects to eat and produce. If you try to maintain the situation and start to take measures to get rid of the aphids then slowly, but surely they will die off and disappear.
Identify your plants are suffering from Aphids
Yellowish and distorted leaves are one indication. Take notice to brownish areas of the leaf with holes or spots on the leaf. On the underside of the leaves is where the aphids choose to stay. Since they are so small it is going to be difficult to see and you will have to base it off the appearance of the plant. Is there honeydew or web like secretions on the leaves? Aphids create this appearance on areas that are severely attacked. It can look like mold is growing on the plant as the leaves may have a black coloring as well.
Get rid of the Aphids
Wipe them off with a cloth. You can cut the damaged area of the plant and start hosing the entire plant with cold water. Make sure to get every part of the plant to try removing these aphids from staying on. Take particular notice to your younger plants to make sure these aphids are not on them.
Use a mixture to spray upon your plants. Use eight cups of warm water mixed with eight drops of dish soap and a half a cup of vegetable oil. The dish soap will cause the aphids to dehydrate and die. The oil will clog up the aphids pores to suffocate them. Shake well and spray it on plants weekly. This will help prevent aphids from living on the leaves and from new colonies from developing. Another organic spray includes a fourth cup of chopped ginger and a cap full of warm water. Let it soak for two hours and shake then spray.
Natural predators of aphids are great to have around. Encourage ladybugs to come around by planting certain plants they prefer such as marigolds, chives, or assylum. Ladybugs eat aphids and will not get rid of them completely but it will help get rid of most of them.
Be careful with the methods that you use to get rid of the aphids as with insecticide it not only kills aphids but it will kill other insects that are important in keeping these destructive insects away. Avoid using most pesticides overall as it can be harmful to the plant as well.
Consider using aphid traps where you can place them in close vicinity of the plant. They will be attracted to the trap and basically get themselves stuck on it and die.
Be certain to follow these steps:
- Identify aphids by appearance of plants.
- Take the correct steps to get rid of aphids.
- Use organic sprays.
- Use aphid traps.
- Use soap and water mixture sprayed on the plants.
- Create your own remedy to help get rid of aphids or to prevent them from coming around and infesting your plants.
- Use straight oil onto the leaves of the plant to help prevent any aphids from finding the plants delicious to eat.
All of the above steps will help you get rid of and/or prevent aphids from landing on your plants and infesting them.