Aphid Alert!

Do you have dark – blackened leaves on your plants? Take a look at this picture taken a couple of days ago on Abigale Drive in Marlborough, Ma.

Aphids on holly

This blackening of the leaves and white (wooly) looking specs are more than likely a gardening gift from a common Aphid.

You can run into these buggers almost anywhere: turf, trees, plants, flowers… they are not usually harmful to the plant but an annoying part of nature. When these bugs “Eriosomatinaes”suck on your plants they get a full tummy. What comes in must go out and the result is Honeydew – bug droppings. These droppings will eventually get moldy resulting in what is called “sooty mold” – the black stuff can spread all over the place: plants, decks, chairs, lawn art and gnomes; I’m sure you’ve seen it.

What to do?

There are two paths to follow: organic or chemical. In the old days being a licensed pesticide applicator I would just spray down the plant with some summer horticultural oils/pesticides and call it good. The new kinder and gentler Pete would hose the soot off with a hose and maybe add some mild detergent. To get rid of the Aphids I would release some nice lady bugs.

Lady bugs love Aphids, farmers used them to protect their crops dating back to the Middle Ages. Nowadays you can just order them up on the internet, they are around $20.00 for about 3000 of the little guys.

Just a thought!

Peter Meggison
Maintenance Production Manger
Another little link – http://www.ehow.com/way_5368775_sooty-mold-treatment.html