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Aphids in your precious plants? Don't freak out!Let's discover their weakness together!

Aphids are small, soft-bodied, pear-shaped insects about 1 millimeter long. They are usually green but can be pink, brown, black or yellow. Some aphids have a woolly or powdery appearance due to a waxy coat. Adults may or may not have wings.

Aphids usually feed on new growth or the undersides of leaves. Some of them even feed on roots! Aphids feed on the elaborate plant sap that circulates in the phloem, resulting from photosynthesis. Phloem sap is a liquid whose composition and nutritional quality vary with the seasons, low in protein, rich in sugars, limited in essential amino acids that cannot be synthesized by animals and almost free of lipids. These are all evolutionary barriers that aphids overcome thanks to symbiotic bacteria. The protein and lipid composition of the sap forces the aphid to ingest a large quantity of it and therefore to reject an abundance of excess sugar in the form of honeydew. This results in yellowing, distorted leaves, growth may be stunted and new buds may even be deformed. That's not all!! This honeydew can become the perfect host for sooty mold fungi, producing unsightly dark spots on plant surfaces.

Prevention, chemical control, biological and mechanical

Prevention In general, keeping your plants healthy will strengthen their resistance to aphids. Also, as a precautionary measure, avoid adding high-nitrogen fertilizer to houseplants and those grown in the garden.

Biological and mechanical

Promote the presence of natural predators of aphids such as the ladybug which is a very effective predator against aphids! The brown lacewing and the green lacewing are two very useful generalist predators in horticulture!

-Other tip; in the event of aphid infestation, spray under the plants with powerful jets of water in order to reduce the density of their populations. Monitor your plants and repeat the treatment as needed (every few days).

-The Neem oil extract is a wonderful asset against the fight against undesirables, it has demonstrated its effectiveness time and time again! *You can make your own recipe by introducing 5 to 10 ml (1-2 tsp) of pure Neem oil in a spray bottle and filling with lukewarm water to reach approximately 100 ml. Shake well before use to disperse the oil in water, then spray on plants.

-For small infested surfaces to be treated, spray with soapy water: dilute a tablespoon of liquid black soap, with or without a tablespoon of vegetable oil, in 1 L of warm water.

Chemical control

An insecticidal soap spray can also be done. In most cases, the treatment will also have to be repeated several times. Use insecticidal soap, Pyrethrins, Imidacloprid, Cyfluthrin, Deltamethrin or Lambda Cyhalothrin to control aphids.

Of all the types of unwanted insects in our homes, I would say aphids are the easiest insects to get rid of. Before going strong with chemicals, always start to prepare your natural anti-aphids: By simply dilute 3 tablespoons of liquid black soap in 1 liter of water. Spray your entire plant, insisting on the underside of the leaves where aphids hide. You will need to spray several days to get rid of the infestation!

Courage dear plant lovers, I am sure that you will emerge victorious from this fight!

With love, Melanie

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