Aphids – Please Help

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  • #14823


    Hi Everyone

    We are new here! My little girl and I have grown our swan plant and finally we were thrilled last week when our one and only surviving caterpillar worked it’s magic and we had our first very beautiful Monarch butterfly fly away.

    However our two plants are being absolutely bombarded with these little yellow coloured aphids(?) Does anyone know how we can get rid of them. I wipe them off on a regular basis but they are ruining the plant.

    I would be so grateful for some advice

    Kate & Charli

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  • #27365


    I am not sure Jacqui about mulches and compost; in my experince the more well “fertilised” the soil the faster the growth of the plant alright and apparently more green and healthy it grows but also it leads to a more sappy plant which the aphids so love. The rather more starved plants tend to be tougher and much less prone to attack. Mulches and compost are good for soil health and necessary for water conservation but I dont think they are a very good treatment for aphids. This year has also seen ideal conditions for aphids.

    I am not advocating withholding of compost from soil but I would be putting it on later in the season, when leaf growth has slowed much further down. I dont know where katiebaby74 lives but we are still getting strong shoot growth even in Dunedin.

    And katiebaby74 I use water sprays like Jacqui and soapy water from a spray bottle helps to wash of the plague infestations. Needs to be done several days running. As you have no caterpillars now and I asume no eggs that is quite safe.

    I also use neem oil judiciosly on some plants were I get sap sucking insect problems, thrips, scale and aphids eg on the lemons. Keeping thse in check stops runaway infestations elsewhere and hence on your swan plants, and reduces the sooty mould etc. I never aim for complete eradication for the reason given by Jacqui. I dont think neem oil would be all that good on swan plants because it is quite long lasting and may have a residual effect on caterpillars. I remember a thread about this but more research is needed

    Soap and water for aphids is a well established practice. Soap is better than detergent for the soil. I keep some ends of soap in a jar of water and dilute this for a spray. As week as possible, just to the point where you can feel the soap effect as you are using your hand to clean the stems and leaves as you spray. If it is likely to have further eggs laid on the plant, hose off this soap spray afterwards. The soap really just makes it easier to dislodge and clean of the aphids.



    Hello Kate and Charli – welcome.

    There is lots of information on aphids here – look to the right here and click on aphids. There’s also a handout on aphids here under “Projects” and “Pest Information”.

    I use a jet of water to keep knocking the aphids back – until I see that they’re being controlled naturally. Don’t use sprays but “study” the aphids and see what they look like when they’re healthy – and when they’re not. Soon you’ll have ladybirds and Aphidius colemani breeding and controlling them on their own. But if you interfere too much you’ll kill them off too.

    Make sure your plant is mulched with natural mulches and naturally made compost, healthier plants are better at fighting off the “foes” too.

    Hope that helps.

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