Q. Aphids have covered my Echinacea plants. How can I get rid of them?
Bruce from Youngstown
A. Aphids are a perennial problem on many plants in the landscape and in the vegetable garden.
They are tiny insects, at only about one-eighth of an inch long. You fill find them under the leaves of many of your favorite plants. They can be green, brown, yellow, gray and a variety of other colors. They can populate plants rather quickly in the right conditions.
Aphids are sucking insects. They use their mouthparts to take sap from our plants. Damage from aphid feeding can range from completely unnoticeable all the way to twisted leaves on the plant. Aphids also transmit viruses to our plants, causing even more issues.
So, how do you know when and how to control them? It’s mostly when your plant is adversely affected by the insects. Earlier this year, the roses at our office were covered in aphids. Since there was no visible damage, we let them be. They were soon washed away by a downpour, so no harm done. You can do the same thing with your water hose and knock the aphids off your plants.
To keep aphid populations down in your garden, be sure to increase air circulation around your plants with proper pruning. Keep weeds down in the area. Encourage natural predators, such as the lady bug.
Products such as insecticidal soap can be helpful in reducing populations. Other options are listed in the fact-sheet link below. Be sure to read and follow all label directions.
Although most of our aphid problems are done for the year, there can be localized bursts of populations on certain plants, such as asters. Be sure to continue to monitor for insects through the end of the growing season.
Read more about aphids, how to identify them and more control options at go.osu.edu/aphids.
Eric Barrett is the Ohio State University Extension Educator for Agriculture and Natural Resources in Mahoning County. Call the hot line at the office on Mondays at Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon to submit your questions at 330-533-5538.