Here is some information on dealing with aphids. Pesticides are not necessary.
Aphids are very small, soft-bodied insects. Some adults may have wings, others are wingless. The winged forms are produced because of environmental developments such as temperature or moisture. Aphids are sometimes called plantlice and their common names often reflect the plants they prefer. They produce a honeydew secretion that is very popular with ants. Aphids feed on the plants by sucking sap and they can spread viral diseases, cause galls to form and in some cases, cause the leaves to curl.
One important pest species is the greenbug aphid (Schizaphis graminum). This species is a major pest in Kentucky blue grass and will feed on many other grasses. It also feeds on oats, rice, rye and wheat crops. This aphid also has developed a resistance to several pesticides. It is found throughout the United States and much of Canada. You can control greenbugs in lawns by using Greenbug for Outdoors in your irrigation system. It is an EPA Exempt pesticide made from cedar and available online.
Other common pest aphid species are the green peach aphid (Myzus persicae), the cotton aphids (Aphis gossypii) and rose aphid (Macrosiphum rosae). The green peach aphid feeds on various vegetables including lettuce, spinach, potatoes, tomatoes and others. The cotton aphid feeds on cotton, citrus, asparagus, beans, clover, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes and other food plants as well as begonia, ivy, violets and even weeds. The rose aphid feeds on roses and will also attack house plants.
Many other species of aphids will get on most garden crops. The best control is to routinely spray the plants with a pressure wash to dislodge the aphids which will fall to the ground and become prey for spiders and other predatory arthropods. You can mix two cups of food grade diatomaceous earth in a gallon of water and spray the plants as well. You can also put some soapy water in a yellow bowl that will attract aphids which will drown. They are attracted to the color yellow. You can also trap them by putting petroleum jelly or honey on yellow index cards. You don’t want to spray pesticides as you will kill many insects that like to feed on aphids, such as praying mantids, ladybird beetles, green lacewing larvae, syrphid flies, soldier beetles and some wasps. Spiders, small wrens and other birds feed on aphids and will be endangered by pesticides.
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