What are aphids?
Aphids are small, soft insects about the size of rice grain. They range in color from light green to red, however, most common aphids have a white, woolly coat. Aphids suck the sap/juices from the new growth on your plants preventing the plant from properly processing food. After feeding on plants for a while, you’ll notice that the leaves will turn yellow and have a grayish cast.
You can usually find aphids lurking on the new leaves of plants. Aphids leave a sticky coating on the leaves. Most aphids live on the underside of the leaf in small clusters, so look on the underside of your leaves to see if you have aphids. Aphids love to feed on Roses, Ivy, Marigolds, Calendula, Crape Myrtle, and other plants.
Natural “green” remedies:
If you have just a few aphids, you can simply run an infested leaf between your thumb and forefinger and “scrape” them off the leaf, or you can wash off the pests with a stream of water.
One of my favorite natural remedies is the ladybug. In the late spring, I purchase a bag of ladybugs at my local nursery for about $9.99. It has about 1,200 ladybugs in the bag. I slowly dispense the bag throughout my garden. The ladybugs feed on the aphids and many of the ladybugs will remain in the yard as long as there are aphids to feed on.
Aphids are attracted to yellow, so you can either set out a yellow bowl full of soapy water or purchase a sticky yellow color trap that is available at most nurseries to lead aphids away from your plants.
Insecticidal soaps mixed with warm water is also a useful remedy to rinse away the aphids. You can make your own or purchase some at a garden center.
If you have a serious infestation, you may have to use an insecticide. There are natural insecticides that are made from ground flowers or other plants.
If you check your plants often enough, the infestation will probably be mild enough to use one of the natural methods, such as the soapy rinse, and it will also serve as a mild repellent.
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