Aphids, also known as plant lice, love many types of garden plants and are often first in line to feed on your favorite flowers and veggies. Unless you evict them, they’ll stay on stems and leaves, producing a sticky, ant-attracting excretion called honeydew that can cause fungal diseases, and passing along viruses that can kill your plants.
Green, black, brown, yellow, or red aphids are small (less than ¼-inch) insects with pear-shaped bodies. Signs to watch for include: curling, yellowing, or sticky leaves, lots of ants hanging around, and sooty-black mold fungus caused by the honeydew. Young plants are the most vulnerable to aphid damage, but this type of pest may be present throughout the growing season.
Here’s how to control aphids:
Bring in the Good Guys
Plant flowers and flowering herbs, like sweet fennel, spearmint, and sweet alyssum near susceptible plants to attract beneficial insects (like ladybugs) that will prey on aphids.
Protect young vegetable plants from aphids with floating row covers that keep pests out, but allow air, light, and moisture in. Once they mature, plants that require pollination will need to be uncovered.
Prune infested branches or hose aphids off with a steady stream of cool water.
…or Kill Them.
Spray affected areas of your plants, especially leaves and new shoots, with Ortho® Insect, Mite & Disease 3-in-1 Ready to Use. Make sure to coat all the aphids you can find, and follow all label directions.