Every hobbyist faces some problem or the other while nurturing any type of plant. Apart from checking natural growth factors, like temperature, light, and humidity, the most serious plant enemies are diseases and pests. Infestation of diseases and pests on plants is more when there is a disturbance in the essential plant growth nutrients and factors. In other words, plants are more susceptible to diseases when they are exposed to stressful conditions.
Effects of Aphids on Plants
Aphids, also known as plant lice, are plant eaters that most gardeners have to deal with while taking care of plants. In temperate regions, they are considered as the most destructive insects concerning cultivated plants. There are about 250 species that cause serious damage to plants. Once a plant gets infested with aphids, they feed on the sap of the leaves, stem, and roots. Some aphid species spread viruses on the host plants, which can even kill the plants.
Aphids are soft-bodied insects, with most species being green in color; however, you will also find pink, red, brown, and black species. Depending upon the species, their size may range from 2 to 10 millimeters in length. The characteristic feature of aphids is exudation of a defensive, honeydew substance (cornicle wax). You can make out the plant parts affected by aphids from this secretion.
How to Get Rid of Aphids
Check the Plants
Spend some time in the garden and inspect any noticeable sign of aphid colonization. Aphids multiply and colonize within a short time. Hence, the earlier you identify them eating your plants, the more chances you have to protect the plants from dying. You can manually pick the aphids and kill them on the spot.
Spraying Jets of Water
Spraying the affected plant parts with a strong jet of water is also effective for dislodging these plant eaters. While splashing water, ensure that you cover all the affected plants. Otherwise, passive spreading of aphids by wind gusts can again spread these destructive pests to the neighboring plants.
No Heavy Fertilization
Many gardening specialists are of the opinion that over fertilization has a negative impact on plants, out of which the most common sign is infestation of aphids. These plant destroyers prefer eating newly developed plant parts, which are most prevalent in over fertilized garden plants. In order to avoid such a case, you can use slow release liquid fertilizer in an appropriate concentration.
Applying Natural Pesticides
Aphids are controllable with mild pesticides. A cost-effective and eco-friendly way to kill aphids is by spraying a home cleaning detergent or vegetable oil in dilute concentration. Take a sprayer filled with lukewarm water and to this, add 2 teaspoons of dishwashing solution. Shake well and spray it to the underside of the leaves and other affected plant parts.
Another method to get rid of aphids on plants is by going the biological way. You can introduce beneficial predators such as wasps, ladybird beetles, and syrphid fly larvae. These natural predators are effective in controlling the aphids effectively. While using chemical pesticides, confine the application only to the infected parts, so as to conserve the population of these aphid enemies. Act quickly at the first sight of aphids and you will control them before they cause serious damage to the plants.