If you’re a gardener — flowers, vegetables, or otherwise — you are engaged in constant battle. I’m not talking epic Mel Gibson in Braveheart battle necessarily. No. I’m talking Bruce Willis in every movie he’s ever been in battle: one guy against the mass hoards of greed and corruption. Sure, you’ll get your butt kicked a little. You’ll probably end up with a broken nose, a couple cracked ribs and at least one bullet hole. But in the end, you will kill everybody. That is, unless you’re dealing with aphids. With aphids you need to pull out a little bit of Arnold vs. Predator.
You have to play it smart, because if you’re not paying attention, it’s all over.Aphids are sneaky and inconspicuous little beasties. They can show up, breed like crazy and completely destroy your flowers, vegetables, and even trees before you ever know there’s a problem. There are many species and colors of aphids. They come in shades of green, red, brown, black, and yellow, and almost all have fat little pear-shaped bodies with several little tubes poking up out of the back end called cornicles. They feed by piercing plants and sucking their juices. In doing so, they can transmit viruses that cause yellowing, curling, and distorted growth. Aphids also secrete a sticky substance called honeydew that often results in colonization by an ugly, sooty black fungus.