Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Aphids, aphids everywhere

It was a massacre. Aphids were dying everywhere under the onslaught of the hose and then, later, my squishing fingers. I was squeamish last night because there were so many aphids but today that squeamishness faded and I was squishing them on the ground and on the plant. Squish, squish, squish.

I also trimmed the bent and broken stems from the plant. The flower stems were bent, twisted, and red because the aphids had taken out all the sap. Many others were bent over and clearly dying or already dead. I was ruthless in taking them out because I want the plant to focus on the healthy stems and not put energy into stems and leaves that are not going to make it.

When I checked the plant later in the evening, I only found a few aphids on the plant so I definitely won the battle on this plant. I also checked the other lupine and it does have a few aphids. I'm going to keep a close eye on both plants - squishing any aphids I see - because I don't want to lose any more of them.

I also discovered why there were little white bug-looking things all over the plant: aphids shed their skin to grow and the white things are the shed skin. No wonder they looked dead!

We have another type of green aphid on the mystery fruit tree. The undersides of some leaves are completely coated with them and those leaves have a coating of honeydew - the sweet, sticky aphid excrete. Those ones are harder to squish and I'm hoping the ladybugs will join me in this fight.

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