Aphid Control 

At one time or another, every vegetable gardener will have to deal with aphid control when it comes to vegetable crops.

Aphids also called plant lice are one of many vegetable

garden pests that are found in all vegetable gardens. They are not particular as to which plants they invade and will attack just about any vegetable crop.

Life can be as short as 2 weeks

As adults, these vegetable garden pests are quite small, less than 1/8", and have a soft body and vary in color from white, gray, green, red, brown, yellow or black. They do not move very fast when disturbed and usually can be found in large numbers on the underside of plant leaves or stems.

Aphids feed by sucking sap from leaves and other parts of your vegetable plants, causing the plant to lack vigor, wilt, or develop leaves that become curled, puckered and yellow.

Although aphids are not life threatening to mature crops, seedlings may not survive because they may not have time to develop sufficient growth and become strong enough to withstand an aphid infestation. It is therefore important to pay attention to aphids while seedlings are at this stage of their life cycle.

The most active time that aphids cause the greatest damage is when temperatures are warm but not hot, usually between 65 F - 18C to 80F -  27C. It is at this time time that aphid control should never be far from your mind. So be sure to be on the lookout for aphid infestation and take immediate action before they become established.

How to Spot Aphids

Gently turn each leaf over and carefully look for tiny spots especially on new leaf growth. You may also notice a shiny substance on some leaves and yet not on others. This sticky substance is secreted by aphids when they take in more plant sap than they can absorb and the excess sap is secreted as a clear, sweet, sticky substance known as "honeydew."

A hard stream of water directed at your plants and especially under the plants leaves will dislodge most aphids as well as recently deposited honeydew. However, be careful when using this method of aphid control that the hose pressure is not too strong that it may cause damage to your plants or leaves. Only use this water technique early in the day to allow the leaves to dry so they don't develop a fungus.

Aphid Tip - Aphids thrive when there is high nitrogen in  plant sap.

When dealing with aphids, don't forget about your gardens beneficial garden insects that do a fine job eating aphids. Protect them by not using synthetic insecticides that do little to destroy aphids but unfortunately do an excellent job of killing beneficial vegetable garden insects. If the thought of using an insecticide crosses your mind for aphid control, replace it by thinking organic gardening. Not only will the beneficial insect's thank you, so will your plants.

We hope you have found this article on aphid control informative and if you would like to read more about other destructive vegetable garden pests that invade your garden click on vegetable garden pest.

More information on aphids can be found here at the University of California Agriculture dept.

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