Gardening: Aphids are showing up on crape myrtles

Ray Ridlen explains why he's seeing large populations of aphids this summer.
by Bryan Painter Published: July 23, 2012

Aphids are present on most plants, generally at noninjurious levels. The honeydew excreted by aphids may be useful for identifying aphid populations. Aphids are often controlled by natural forces, such as driving rains or low or high temperatures. A good recommendation for the control of aphids is to wash the plant with a strong stream of water.

Natural controls, including natural enemies — ladybird beetles, lacewings, syrphid flies, and parasitic wasps — usually bring aphid populations under control shortly after they become noticeable.

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 chemical insecticides on plants to control aphids, since these will also kill off the beneficial insects and the aphid population will come back with a vengeance.

Ray Ridlen is an agriculture/horticulture educator for the Oklahoma County Extension Service. His column addresses frequently asked horticulture questions. For more information, call 713-1125.

by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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