Identification: These small, soft-bodied, pear-shaped insects cluster densely on tender new growth and the undersides of leaves to suck plant juices. Many species of aphids feed on home garden plants; these insects range in color from pale green, pink, or black to red or yellow. Size is typically 1/16″–1/4″. Adult aphids are generally wingless, but winged adults will appear when overcrowded. Immature aphids (nymphs) closely resemble adults.
Damage: Both adults and nymphs feed on a wide variety of plants, including most edibles and ornamentals. In small numbers aphids do little damage, but they are able to reproduce rapidly and can quickly become a more serious problem. Also, as they feed, aphids secrete a sweet fluid called honeydew that can attract ants; sooty black fungus may grow on coated leaves. Aphids are common throughout the U.S.
Control: There are several options to control and/or eliminate aphids:
- When fertilizing your garden, avoid over-applying nitrogen. Too much nitrogen can stimulate plants to grow too rapidly and produce a flush of exactly the kind of tender new growth that aphids love.
- Use a strong spray of water from your hose to dislodge aphids from affected plants. This will reduce their numbers dramatically. Recheck the plants a few days later and repeat the treatment if needed. (Keep in mind that water sprays will also kill beneficial insects.)
- Ladybug Feeders. Set of 2 Ladybugs are voracious predators of many garden insect pests, including aphids, whiteflies, spider mites and mealybugs.
- Adult Ladybugs Voracious predators of many garden insect pests, including aphids, whiteflies, spider mites and mealybugs.
- Beneficial Bugs Garden Pack Includes three species of efficient pest-eaters that (unlike chemical controls) won’t harm plants, earthworms, or humans. Ladybugs, lacewings and beneficial nematodes.
- Orchard Spray Protects fruit trees and bushes, nut trees, ornamentals and vegetables. Effective against blight, blackspot, powdery mildew, aphids, mites, caterpillars, whiteflies and more plant pests and diseases. Active ingredients: sulphur and pyrethrins
- All Seasons Spray Oil Unlike heavy “dormant” spray oils that can only be used in early spring, this lightweight oil can be used year-round on vegetables and ornamental plants to control many insect pests, including aphids, mealybugs, red spider mites and scale.
- Rose Rx 3-in-1 Wards off spider mites, whiteflies, lily beetles and Japanese beetles. Also controls black spot and powdery mildew. It works for all flowers and ornamentals; safe for houseplants and food crops, too.
- Insect Control Spray Controls pests with fast-acting natural pyrethrins to kill insects and larvae on contact and canola oil to smother eggs
- Garden Dust Contains copper sulphate and pyrethrins. Use it as a last resort if other controls are not effective.
- Bon-Neem Spray Controls a variety of pests, including aphids, mites, whiteflies, flea beetles, scale and earwigs. Contains natural potassium salts and potent neem tree oil.