If you’ve ever had your plants infested with aphids, you know the utter havoc and damage they can do to your plants and indeed entire garden.

Aphids, or plant lice, are sap-sucking insects that are pear-shaped, with long antennae and could be green, pink, black, gray or with a white fluffy coating. The aphids as a nymph are quite similar to the adults and they multiply rapidly and molt often.

Aphids as adults or nymphs can suck plant sap from most small fruits, vegetables, ornamentals and fruit and shade trees. Under attack, leaves, buds and flowers become distorted and sticky and when they are severely infested, the leaves and flowers will drop. Aphids secrete sticky honeydew that supports growth of sooty mould on leaves and fruit, making the plant very susceptible to many diseases.

Aphids have a vigorous life cycle which is why they spread so quickly to other plants. A cold and severe winter may kill off some of the winter eggs, but it’s unlikely it will eradicate them.

Here are a few ways to control aphids:

  • For vegetables crops, perennials and small ornamental shrubs spray smaller plants frequently with a strong stream of water to knock aphids off.
  • For fruit and shade trees, spray dormant oil to kill wintering eggs.
  • You can attract native aphid predators and parasites by planting pollen and nectar plants.
  • There are also a number of home remedies you can try: Combine 3 parts of isopropyl rubbing alcohol with 4 parts water and 1 tablespoon of liquid detergent. You can also use teas to deter the little pests made from garlic, mint, or green onions.

If the above suggestions don’t help, try spraying insecticidal soap. As a last resort, spray infested plants with neem or pyrethrum, however, while you can buy pyrethrum at your local garden store, you will have to hire a professional to spray neem because you must be certified to spray this chemical.

For help with any of your garden maintenance needs, contact Natural Images Landscaping Ltd. in Muskoka. They will help you in solving any problems you may encounter. Call them today at 705-646-0610 or visit them at www.naturalimagesmuskoka.com.