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Aphids | Plant Enemies

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Hold on. I need to find a piece of wood, because what I am about to say is going to require a good knocking. I have never had an issue with aphids  (knock. on wood). I try to discourage myself from saying such things out loud because I genuinely don’t want to “learn” about them through experience. BUT knowledge is power, and as plant lovers, we need to know what to watch for.

Appearance

  • Small, 1/16 – 1/8 inch long.
  • Pear-shaped soft-bodies with visible legs and antennae.
  • Typically wingless, although winged adults capable of flight may be present sometimes.

Plant Damage

  • They feed on plant sap.
  • Leaves can yellow, and plants can become stunted and distorted.
  • Honeydew on leaves that can become black with sooty mold.

Detection

  • Watch for discolored leaves.
  • Watch for honeydew (a shiny, sticky substance).
  • They tend to cluster on stems just below flower buds, newly opening leaf buds, tips of plants, and the undersides of leaves.
  • The canopy of leaves, table, and floor may be sticky.

Solution

  • Washing.
  • Physical removal: cotton swab dipped in alcohol; remove using a forceful spray of water.
  • Pesticides: pyrethrins, insecticidal soap, neem oil, plant oil extracts, imidacloprid.

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