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Friday, July 8, 2011

Aphids: Don't Spray or Dust Them... Just Smash Them!

I know it doesn't sound like good advice but aphids are favorite foods of many predator insects like the ladybug. I made the mistake once of spraying my wildflowers. It killed lots of insects (good and bad) and I had the worst year of damaging bugs. The reason... I killed off the good insects which I think have a longer life cycle so the first insects back were the bad ones. They had free reign of my garden. 

Aphids can be smashed and flicked off the flower. It works. That is what I have done this year. Each time I see a batch like the picture, I smash them with my fingers then hose the plant down. This year, so far, I have had the fewest outbreaks of aphids through this point then any other year. Though this looks bad, a quick smash and shake or spray and the plant is fine.

Red Aphids: Gary Pilarchik

Red Aphids Line Dancing: Gary Pilarchik

Close Up of Red Aphids: Gary Pilarchik

Smash the Aphids with Your Fingers: Gary Pilachik

If you can get over being squeamish, this works. Aphids come in different colors. I can't tell you why but wonder if it has to do with what plant they are feeding on. I gently smashed all these and rinsed them off with a hose. I didn't dust them because I want the predator insects to eat what I  missed. If predators find food they hang around.

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