If aphids or thrips are plaguing your crops, do not despair. At one time or another, these insects bother almost all garden or indoor plants, decreasing their vigor and blemishing them using their waste. Aphid colonies drink sap from succulent stems and the undersides of leaves, while slender, winged thrips favor tender leaf and leaf buds. Some of same methods effectively rid your plants of both.
Identifying the Invaders
Aphids and thrips are small enough you may not observe an invasion until their feeding visibly damages your plant’s health. Aphids — miniature, pear-shaped insects of nearly any color — latch onto stems and leaves and drink the plant’s sap through sharp, hollow mouth components. Most aphids in hot climates give birth to live young, and many of them reproduce year-round. Their vintage calling card is honeydew, the sticky leftovers of their feeding. Slender, winged yellowish to black thrips puncture plant tissue and devour its mobile contents, such as chlorophyll. Pale stippling or silvering along with specks of dark excrement mark their feeding sites. Wind carries thrips from plant to plant.
Bug Them to Death
Green lacewing larvae prey on aphids and thrips, and inviting these beneficial bugs to your garden helps maintain both insects in check. Each female lacewing places hundreds of eggs, and each larva consumes up to 600 thrips or aphids a day for two to three weeks before pupating. Adult green lacewings feed on nectar and pollen from flat, shallow-throated flowers. Lure the adults from scattering annual sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) and cosmos (Cosmos spp.) Around the backyard, and let their babies go to perform.
Wash Them Away
Spraying your outdoor plants with water from the hose dislodges and drowns aphids and thrips. Aim in the leaf undersides where the insects congregate. To eliminate thrips, place your hose’s spray attachment to spray and fine early in the morning, once the hose water is chilly and the lethargic insects aren’t very likely to fly off. Eliminating thrips requires three or more treatments spaced every a couple of days. This technique also works with aphid-infested indoor plants, since aphids are inactive. Simply take the plants out or set them in a sink or bathtub for spraying.
The Soap Solution
Nontoxic, ready-to-use insecticidal soap controls aphids and thrips on garden and indoor plants. It suffocates the bugs it reaches, therefore direct the spray in the backs of the leaves, the stems, leaf and leaf buds and shoot tips where the insects gather. Treat them when no honeybees, lacewings or other beneficials are present, and when no direct sunlight will hit and possibly harm the plants. To remove the insects, you need to spray on the plants until they drip and then repeat the spraying every two to three days, or in the label’s suggested interval. As a precaution, wear gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, long trousers, socks, shoes, protective eyewear and a respiratory mask when spraying. Consistently apply the soap according to this label’s instructions.