Pest Management: Aphids 101

These are aphids... aka "plant lice"... Yummy!!

One type of aphid infestation.

One type of aphid infestation.

Aphids  come in a variety of colors and there are aprox 4,400 species known, but most are small just like these little green ones I had attacking my sage plants.

When I first noticed the tiny insects, I shook them off the plant but didn't think much of it (bad call).

What makes these little dudes so bad?

  • Aphid infestations can destroy an entire plant and if left untreated, they can spread to surrounding plants (source)
  • These pests suck out plant sap, damaging leaves, stems, and flowers in the process (source)
  • Heavy infestations will cause leaves to curl, wilt or yellow and stunted plant growth and several species can transmit plant diseases, particularly viruses which they pass on during feeding (source)
  • As they feed, aphids secrete large amounts of a sticky fluid known as honeydew. This sweet goo drips onto plants, attracting ants and promoting a black sooty mold growth on leaves (source)
  • They reproduce extremely fast, like 80 new bugs a day fast..

After reading about different ways to approach the invasion naturally, I tried one out.

Aphids eating a sage plant

Aphids eating a sage plant

After inspecting all of the surrounding plants, the infestation seemed to be concentrated on the sage plants (thankfully) so I thoroughly inspected their leaves, stems and base.

Most of the aphids were towards the top so I squished them (yep) by pressing the sage leaves together firmly. This seemed to be fairly effective and although it's not the nicest way to get rid of them, it does ensures they won't spread  all over the of the garden if you were to just brush them off.

Squish!

Squish!

Paint with soapy mixture

Paint with soapy mixture

Then I made a soapy mixture using an organic plant based soap, got my paint brush out and gave the plant a little bath.

Check the back of leaves for bugs, worms, eggs, etc.

Check the back of leaves for bugs, worms, eggs, etc.

I checked the plants a few times a day for the first 2 days after that and did find a few new aphids but I just squished those too and after almost 2 weeks, this has totally worked.

More on this later I'm sure..

Happy insect wars!