Growing Season – Aphids

Your kid can get lice. It’s not that big of a pain to get rid of them. No need to shave their heads like in the old days. Take them to a doctor, they’ll prescribe treatment. Contact the school to tell them that your child came down with these bloodsuckers. That’s all folks!


But did you know that plants also get a form of lice? They’re called aphids and they’ll really mess-up your garden. Flowers, veggies, fruits. You name it, they’ll feed on it.

Seen an Aphid Lately?

If not, they’re shaped like microscopic pears. Aphids are not connected to cable or a satellite dish. Instead, they still have an antennae. These guys come in Technicolor: red, green, brown, black and yellow. It just depends on the particular species. Some are hairy, others are slick.

Aphids have a couple of these things called cornicles that stick-out of their backside area. And when you see one, chances are there’s a huge population nearby, swarming and eating.

Oh, the Damage They Will Do

They suck. Literally. Aphids have parts in their mouths that can puncture the skin of the plant. That’s when they really suck. They’re going for the juices and other stuff that can ultimately send your tomatoes to the big garden in the sky.

Once again, depending on the species, they can leave behind little growths on the affected plant. These dealies are called galls, appearing on the roots and stems.

The more gluttonous ones, occasionally suck-up too much sap. Their little storage containers vomit or poop out what they can’t hold. So, they excrete a substance that us folks in the pest control biz have named honeydew. It’s sticky. It’s clear. But most importantly fungus and mold will blossom on the plant which is a dinner bell for flies and ants.

Here’s how you can tell if aphids are the varmints, grab a sheet of white paper. Hold it under the leaf of a plant you believe has been messed around with by aphids. Hold the leaf and give it a smack. The insect should fall onto the paper.

Nothing? Try some more leaves. Just don’t go banging-up too many plants. We don’t know, but scientists suspect growing green things have feelings, too.


Got an Infection of Plant Lice?

Vulcan Termite and Pest Control, Inc. has punched up a handy list of what you can do (if you don’t want to call us) to get rid of an infestation:

  • A good natural way to keep them off your precious plants are to grow other things that aphids love:
    • Zinnias
    • Hollyhocks
    • Larkspur
    • Nasturtiums
    • Asters
    • Verbena
    • Dahlias
    • Mums
    • Cosmos
    • Tuberous begonias
  • Already got a problem? Use the hose, Luke. A strong spritz of water will dislodge the bugs. Do it once a week.
  • Go to your nursery and ask an expert for something you can spray on the plants to obliterate the aphids altogether. Fact: They may come back. Regular treatment may be necessary.

Suspect something? Do something. Take care of these pests before they kill any more of your harvest. A reminder, never shave the head of a plant, either. Even if you suspect plant lice.

Original Source:

Image Source: