Aphids: Prevention is better than cure!

For many years it has been widely believed that Aphids only attack rose bushes but that is not the case. Whether this is because they adapted their natural feeding environment is not known, but the fact is that Aphids will attach just about any type of plant with soft and tender parts, flowers or growing parts that they can pierce to suck out the sap.

Your plants will only experience problems when new aphid colonies are formed in your region. This usually happens when Aphid colonies become overcrowded and the males grow wings and go and look for other less populated ‘territories’. It is impossible to predict when this happens so in terms of prevention there is no specific time to look out for them. Spring and summer is the season when they are most active but their appearance on your plants may not be limited to the warmer seasons.

What are Aphids?

Aphids are common garden pests that form up to several colonies on a single plant. They are tiny, soft-bodied, pear-shaped insects that have long antennae and a characteristic pair of cornicles (short tubes) extending on either side of their abdomen. Their translucent bodies are most usually green, red, brown, yellow or white.

Aphids

Where do they feed?

As I mentioned earlier, Aphids today feed on just about any plant. They will form colonies underneath leaves, the tips of branches, around growth points and even on soft and tender bark. Aphids pierce the stems, bark or leaves to get to the sap so they will almost always be on the soft places of the plant. If you notice spotty and yellow discoloration on the leaves of your plants then it is more than likely because of this common garden pest. By turning the leaves over you will quickly be able to recognize them.

How can I prevent it?

There are a few tips that I will give you on what you can possibly do to prevent Aphids in your garden. It will not always work and even when you have a healthy, great looking garden, these little creatures can become a pest. When that happens, it is always best to consult a professional.

The first thing you can do is to make sure that your plants are healthy and eating well. This means giving them prescribed plant food, feeding their soil with the correct types of compost and fertilizer. If you do not know what the best types of soils and fertilizers for your plants are, contact a professional can both advise and supply you with what you need.

Try not to have trees, flowers and other plants in your garden with yellow colors. Aphids are extremely attracted to yellow and will give preference to plants with this color.

Embed old CD’s, pieces from a broken mirror or even tinfoil in the soil around the base of your plant. This somehow works quite well.
Stick yellow double-sided tape around the base of your plants. As this is their color of choice, they will be attracted to this first, allowing you to catch them before they can form a colony.

If you end up in the unfortunate situation of an Aphid infestation make sure that you get it sorted out ASAP. Their colonies can grow extremely quickly and do serious damage to your garden if it is not treated properly and quickly.

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