Aphids are very small, approximately 1/8” in length. There are many different species and colors of this soft-bodied pest, but the ones that are most often seen throughout Florida tend to be green, yellow, or black. Aphids have pear-shaped bodies and long antennae. They may also have a woolly or waxy texture.
Aphids feed on a wide variety of plants. They are a sap-sucking pest, and will feed on almost all parts of plants. Throughout Florida, they are especially attracted to; Crepe Myrtle, Gardenia, Rose, Hibiscus, and Camellia, just to name a few. They tend to stay in large groups, and they reproduce very quickly. Although they will feed on a variety of plants, there are some Aphids that are attracted to specific plants, and they are named appropriately. For example, there may be bean aphids, melon aphids, potato aphids, and so on.
An infestation of Aphids may be seen by shortened, yellowing leaves, or plants that appear misshapen and damaged. Sometimes, they will also leave a sticky residue on the plants, which is called “honeydew”.
Insecticides are effective on Aphids. The best time of year to treat them is in the Spring, when they are the most active; however, they can be treated throughout the year, too. They can also be physically removed, as with a hose or gardening tools. Since they will often hide underneath the leaves of a plant, be sure to inspect that area, too.
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