Aphids in the Garden

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Aphids in the garden

Aphids can be a problem in the home landscape, vegetable garden, or fruit garden. They can vector many viral diseases and can cause significant damage to desired plants if the aphid population is left unchecked. A sign of aphids being present is honeydew, the aphid’s sticky excretion, on plant surfaces. Honeydew looks similar to a sugary drink being poured on a plant’s leaves that have dried and have a sticky appearance and feel.
Cultural Controls
There are some basic things home gardeners can do to prevent major outbreaks of aphids. High levels of nitrogen promote succulent, nutritious new growth, which is preferred by aphids and can help boost aphid reproduction. Over-fertilizing a plant can enhance aphid population growth and make the problem worse. Using smaller amounts of fertilizer throughout the growing season can help to reduce potential aphid outbreaks.
Mechanical Control
A good effective method for eliminating aphids is to simply rinse them off the leaves of affected plants. A water hose and nozzle with adequate pressure are enough to knock the aphids from the foliage, but not damage the plant
Chemical Control
The first effective choice to spray would be either insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. These insecticidal products coat the aphid’s exoskeleton (body)and cause it to suffocate. These insecticides also can kill beneficial insects upon contact, but they have no residual activity.