Aphids on Herbs

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Aphid Black White
Love me Tender…

New plant growth.

It’s tender and sometimes it gets attacked by evil, nasty, rotten little bugs.

Why?  Well it’s tender…and juicy.

One creature that likes to suck the life out of your new little herb leaves is the aphid, Ant Cow, or greenfly as they are known in the UK. Whatever you call them they can suck the life out of young plants.

Aphids can be hard to spot since just a few may blend in with your foliage.

If you look closely at the newest top growth you will sometimes see little bitty, soft green bugs attached to the undersides of leaves and stems.

Aphids on Apple Mint
Aphids on Apple Mint

Sometimes the first sign of an aphid problem is seeing ants marching up infested plants.  It used to be said that the ants were “farming” the aphids since it appeared the ants were herding and tending the aphids…like cows.

As the aphids feed by sucking the juice from your plants, they exude (another polite poop word) something called honeydew, which is in no way to be confused with the melon. This stuff is sticky and is sweet tasting to the ants.

Another sign of an infestation may be twisted and distorted leaves.

The pest problem here is twofold…

First, the Honeydew can contribute to several plant diseases and secondly, aphids are sometimes “born” pregnant so you will soon have LOTS more of them.

You can sometimes take care of them with a blast of water several days in a row-although if you have tender small plants this just won’t work without destroying the plant.

My next suggestion is to try one of the insecticidal soaps or another type of spray formulated for use on your edible herbs.

I have found several of the organic soap and pepper based sprays work very nicely to rid my herbs of aphid infestations.

Beneficial insects do a great job controlling aphids, but they take awhile to attract to the garden, and often your plants just don’t have that much time!

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