Aphids can infest most plants, generally at non-injurious levels. The excreted honeydew may be the first noticeable sign you have aphids. These insects are often controlled by natural forces, such as driving rains and low or high temperatures.
In addition, natural predators may keep the population in check shortly after the aphids are noticed. These beneficial insects include ladybird beetles, lacewings, syrphid flies and parasitic wasps.
Residents should search the aphid colonies for these natural enemies. High numbers of these beneficial insects usually indicate that aphid problems are being controlled without intervention.
Do not apply traditional chemical insecticides on plants to control aphids, since these also will kill off the beneficial insects and the aphid population will come back with a vengeance.
Insecticidal soap is an organic control that may be used in extreme cases, but this kills any insect it contacts, good or bad. The best option to remove the insects is to wash the plant with a firm stream of water.
Tracey Payton Miller is Cleveland County’s horticulture extension educator for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension.