Aphid Alert

While aphids are easy to deal with they are definitely a nuisance! I discovered these on our hostas the other day feasting on the flower stalks.

Aphids are easy to find, just look for the ants. Ants are opportunistic little insects that love a sweet and easy meal that the aphids provide. When the aphids begin to feed on the plants they secret a sugary substance called honey dew. The ants love the stuff and tail the aphids to take advantage of their leftovers. Ants to the same with scale and other sucking insects that create honeydew residue. The incredibly strange yet interesting thing is that some ants will actually store the aphid eggs over the winter to save them for spring. That way the ants can harvest the honeydew from the aphids in the future. Ants will even move the aphids from stem to stem to harvest more from the juicy plants!

Pesticides will work against aphids but aren’t necessary. A strong blast of water from a hose will dislodge the aphids from their meal. Insecticidal soap will do an excellent job of decimating the aphid population. If the plants are mature and well established the aphids will probably do little to hurt them. Still, I’d rather knock them out when I see them! I’ve had aphids appear on the hostas, asclepias (Butterfly weed), spirea, viburnum, and several other kinds of plants. It’s one of the unwritten laws of gardening: if you plant it, aphids will come!

8 Replies to “Aphid Alert”

  1. I hate those nasty bugs in the veggie garden. I have the ones that look like red ants, but I know they need to be there. I think I remember you saying they are beneficial. Or am I wrong?

  2. Lola,

    Do you mean the assassin bugs?

  3. But how do you get rid of Woolly Aphids in a Spanish Broom tree?

    Apart from the desperately sticky mess beneath it, they keep dropping down on the plants below – which are too delicate to hose.

    Can't smoke 'em out either because there isn't room for a fire.

    Esther Montgomery
    Esther's Boring Garden Blog

  4. I have plenty of aphids this year, trying to leave them alone and let nature take it's course.

  5. Esther,

    That does sound tricky! You could possibly get one of those hose attachments used for fertilizing and put a soap solution in it then water your broom tree on a light spray. The soap would be non-toxic and might get the plant's underneath your tree with the residual spray. It would need a couple sprayings to take care of them all. Or you could go buy some lady bug larvae, they would love to dine on some aphids!


    Sometimes nature can do a great job on its own! Maybe some beneficials will come your way!

  6. I was surprised to find aphids on my hostas this year as well. I'll take aphids over the blasted thrips that have taken over my yard, though!

  7. Dave, Yes. The assassin bug.

  8. VW,

    Sorry about the thrips! I'll take the aphids, they are easy enough to deal with!


    They are pretty ugly looking! I have quite a few now but haven't had any terrible infestations of other bugs in the vegetable garden.

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