Why You Need To Get Rid of Aphids

Aphids are responsible for much of the crop devastation happening on vegetable farms and gardens. An aphid is a small sap-sucking insects and there are many different kinds of aphids in many different colors and shapes. They are hard to see, often found on the underside of a plant leaf, and many growers often find out too late when aphid colonies have negatively affected their plants.

HOW TO SPOT APHIDS?

Spotting them early is key to preventing the premature end of life of the fruit bearing plant. The presence of ants is a good early warning sign that aphids are present because ants protect the aphids while they “farm” the bugs for the sweet nectar they suck from the plant. Also look out for any discoloring plant leaves. They should not suddenly turn yellow when you know your nutrient feeding schedule and, if doing hydroponics, measure TDS often.

Aphids are hard to spot so check regularly underneath the leaves!

HOW DO APHIDS KILL PLANTS?

While aphids suck the sap out of a plant, they can also transmit the dreaded Cucumber Mosaic Virus (CMV) and completely break down the plant’s defenses. You’ll see the leaves turn spotty yellow and any fruits will be affected and rot. Some symptoms of CMV infections include stunting of growth, a “mosaic” pattern of light and dark green on the leaves, malformation of leaves and growing points, ringspots, and general yellowing of the leaves. It is important to realize that there is no cure for plants infected with CMV. So prevention and controlling the transmission is extremely important to protect your valuable crops.

Cucumber Mosaic Virus (CMV) named for the mosaic patterns of discoloration on leaves.

On one of our cucumber plants, we have identified aphids (Myzus persicae) underneath the leaves of an affected plant. We had ants crawling on the vines in the early flowering stages as they were feeding the nectar from the flowers and helping pollinate the female flowers. We noticed that the ants were no longer present inside the flowers, so they were feeding on the aphids instead. 

An aphids (Myzus Persicae) colony

An aphids (Myzus Persicae) colony

WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?

While we could use a common method of soapy water and apply with a pressure sprayer, we want to make sure they won’t come back to our plants and any eggs are also eliminated. However, we do not like using toxic red or yellow label pesticides, so instead we opt for a safer alternative called Aicon Botanical Insecticide. Its primary ingredient is Azadirachtin which is an extract derived from the seeds of the neem tree (similar to Neem Oil). Azadirachtin acts as an insect growth regulator, anti-feedant, repellent. We like this product because it’s safe to spray on plants if needed.

 

Pic taken just after applying Aicon Botanical Insectide

Pic taken 1 day after applying Aicon Botanical Insectide

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