Feb 16 , 2020
Aphids. Number 6 in my pest treatment series. Another fairly innocuous pest, these tree vampires are commonly found in both indoor & outdoor collections, with over 4400 different species of the little creeps. Similar to their mealybug counterparts, they’re fairly slow at doing damage so fear not if you find them, you have time to remove them before they do any lasting damage. However unlike mealies, these guys are fast movers, making them easier to spot.
Aphids are mostly green, but can be pink, white, grey and black, and usually wingless as only they only develop wings when they’re seeking a new plant to infest. They can amass big numbers, often on the stems of plants & the backs of leaves but some species can be found in the soil running around really fast, aptly named root aphids (and sometimes misidentified as fungus gnats or tiny ants).
To treat these nuisances:
- Isolate the affected plant. As they move fast, I’m extra vigilant about my quarantine spot and ensure it’s far away from any structure where they could climb and find another plant, meaning for example I wouldn’t move it to another shelf where they could climb from. A clear plastic bag around the plant can work if space is tight
- Check the surrounding plants cos these little dudes can move, incl above & below, and treat as needed
- Blast em! Using high pressure water, dislodge them from the stems & leaves. If you have root aphids, skip this step
- Pest treatment time. As they’re not super harmful, you can use gentler options such as white oil or homemade soap based solutions. Due to the size of my collection, I opt for neem oil, a systemic insecticide that is absorbed into the plant so when aphids suck on its leaves, it’s absorbed into them and they perish. Using whatever pest treatment you’ve chosen, spray the plant thoroughly, across the whole plant and top of the soil
- Water blasting to dislodge may be repeated as often as every day if you like. Limit use of pest sprays to once a week to avoid damaging the plant. It’s likely you’ll need a few repeated treatments
- Try not to get frustrated. These guys are annoying but not that harmful. You will get them in check
Links to other pest tips can be found below:
Plus more to come