Documents: Garden/Plant History & Folklore:

Doktor Doom and Aphids

...education series
by Doktor Doom
July 30, 2006


What are they?

Aphids are pear shaped, sucking insects which draw great quantities of sap from various plants in the garden. Because aphids suck out great quantities of sap from plants, and do so in such large groups, leaves and stems of affected plants will become distorted, and this is sometimes mistaken as herbicide injury.

Aphids excrete excess plant sap - known as honey dew - which can make the affected plants sticky. In addition, certain types of ants prefer to eat this honeydew, and will manage whole colonies of aphids in order to collect the honeydew that they excrete.

Aphids may be green, black, brown, red, pink, or some other colour. They are slow moving and range in size from one to three millimetres in length. They have conspicuous slender antennae and near the rear end of the abdomen there are two tubes called cornicles.

Some may have transparent wings.

Where are they found?

Dense colonies of aphids may be found along stems or on the underside of a leaf. They are drawn to succulent new growth. Female aphids are pregnant when they are born, which means that populations build up very quickly. If they aphids have an ant 'farmer' to keep predators at bay, an aphid population can swiftly become a problem in the garden.

Why are they a problem?

Because aphids can build up populations quickly, and these populations generally do nothing but extract sap, affected plants can swiftly become distorted and have growth problems.

In addition, the excreted honeydew can make not only plants, but sidewalks, cars and patio furniture can become wet and sticky.. A sooty mold often grows in the honeydew and blackens stems, leaves and any other surface.

Aphids may also transmit plant pathogens.

An infestation of aphids can devastate a garden in a matter of days!

CONTROL:

Even though aphids may have wings, manual removal is easy and works well to kill them. They so not fly as well as whiteheads. Aphids bite into the plant, sucking out life giving juices. When affixed to foliage, aphids ate unable to move and easy to squish.

  • Homemade sprays are very effective. Applied 2-3 times at 5-10 day intervals, after manually removing as many as possible.

  • Doktor Doom Botanics Plant Insecticide spray PYRETHRUM (AEROSOL) APPLIED 2-3 TIMES AT 5-10 DAY INTERVALS DOES IT

  • Lacewigs are the most effective available predators for aphids. Lady bugs also work very well to exterminate aphids.

Prevention and treatment

Botanics Insecticide Spray or Doctor Doom Insecticide fumigators can be used to control aphids.

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