Aphids are one of the most common destructive insects around. Safe to say, most gardeners have crossed paths with these little troublesome critters at one time or another. Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that use piercing mouth-parts to suck sap out of your plants. They reproduce quicker than rabbits, and can infest your entire garden and indoor plants before you know what happened.
These mini vampires come in a variety of colors ranging from dark gray to red, orange, yellow, green and white. Body forms vary too; all are plump with six skinny legs.
Notice curled or yellowing leaves, stunted growth or a shiny, sticky coating on the leaves of your plants (honey-dew)? Chances are, aphids are the cause. Two other things to look for are ants and Sooty Mold. Ants love honey-dew, the sticky liquid that is excreted by the aphids. Keep the ants away though, as they help spread the aphids from plant to plant. Honey-dew also provides a great environment in which Sooty Mold fungus can develop. With Sooty Mold, the leaves of your plants appear to have been painted black or have black soot on them.
5 Tips to Protect Plants from Aphids
- Inspect new plants – houseplants and outdoor varieties – for aphids before you bring them home to avoid importing problems.
- Check the undersides of leaves weekly for aphids. Treat the problem immediately, at the first sign of infestation, before population multiply.
- If you see aphids, get the hose and spray your plants with a steady stream of water to knock off as many as you can. These bugs are physically weak; many that get knocked off won’t climb back up.
- Always use environmentally friendly and organic products to kill the aphids. Take Down Garden Spray kills aphids (and the ants) on contact, without harming people, plants, pets or the environment.
- Act fast if you believe aphids have moved in. An infestation can go from a few individuals to a huge number in a blink. See a few? Get out your garden sprayer and an environmentally friendly insecticide – fast!