Pests Spotlight: Aphids
Signs Of Damage By Aphids
You may have Aphids if you see the following signs:
misshapenned, curling, stunting and yellowing of leaves
leaves and stems are covered with a sticky sap (also known as 'honeydew')
black sooty mold on branches and stems (happens when the mold colonises the honeydew)
clusters of very small bugs on the undersides of leaves
Conditions That Aphids Love
Aphids are attracted to plants with soft new growth, usually caused by over-watering.
Over fertilization also results in plants producing 'funny proteins' that make their sap sweeter and therefore more attractive to pests like Aphids.
Some species of Ants 'farm' aphids for their honeydew. The presence of increased ant activity on the plant could also indicate the presence of Aphids.
Use Organic Neem Oil Concentrate to combat plant pests and fungus. It is a non-toxic solution that causes insect pests to reduce or cease feeding, prevent larvae from maturing, and reduces or interrupts mating behaviour. Neem oil is a natural product of the Neem Tree, and is effective at killing fungal spores too. Unlike chemical pesticides that have instantaneous results, organic pesticides like Neem work pest when used as a preventive tool and as part of an overall Pest Management Strategy. In treating pest infestations organically, it is important to break the life cycle of pests by preventing any larvae from maturing and also preventing mature pests from feeding. Aphids are also soft-bodies, so you can employ the use of dish-soap solution which is simply 1 drop of dish soap in 1 Litre of water. Spray liberally on an aphid cluster as the soap will dissolve their outer coating, killing them eventually. It is important to only spray in the morning or evening, when it is cool, to avoid leaf burn.
Attract beneficial insects to your garden to feed on pests. Lady Bugs are a great beneficial insect for your garden as a single ladybug can consume up to 50 to 60 aphids per day, and will also eat a variety of other insects including scales, mealy bugs, mites, and various types of soft-bodied insects. You can attract beneficial insects to your garden by planting a diverse variety of flowers - such as Marigold, Cilantro, Cosmos - that offer pollen for aphids and other pollinators to feed on.
For treatment of Aphids At All Stages Of Infection Aphid treatment is easy, but it is important to get on top of things as early as possible. A newly born aphid becomes a reproducing adult within about a week and then can produce up to 5 offspring per day for up to 30 days! What You Can Do:
Pick off leaves with visible aphid clusters.
Spray leaves liberally on both sides with neem oil solution once every 3 days. This has antifeedant properties and prevent larvae from becoming adults and laying more eggs.
Alternate with dish soap solution on the undersides of the leaves.
Continue this treatment plan for 4 weeks. This means Neem Oil Solution first ---> 3 days later, dish soap solution ----> 3 days later, Neem Oil Solution ----> and so on for one month ( 4 weeks).
Reducing to a once weekly neem oil solution preventive spray from the 5th week onwards.
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