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University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
Bean aphid, melon (cotton) aphid, potato aphid, and cabbage aphid, all by Jack Kelly Clark
Have you noticed that different plants attract aphids of different colors and shapes? Once you’re done admiring nature, you may want to take action to protect your plants. Aphids are classified as sucking insects, which means that they suck the juices right out of plants. They take the nutrients needed for plant growth, and the plant will start to get weak and possibly die. If you monitor your garden regularly and find aphids when their population is still small, you may be able to simply knock or hose them off the plant or prune out the infected part of the plant. When aphid populations are large, nature can help you control them — beneficial insects will be attracted to eat the aphids. You can encourage beneficial insects in your garden by including a variety of plants that flower at different times throughout the season. Avoid chemicals that kill good and bad indiscriminately. If ants are protecting the aphids in a plant, control the ants. Decide what population you will tolerate in your garden, and have patience because it can take time to establish a healthy ecosystem.
More information: Aphid management guidelines in English| Spanish
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