Aphids....aphids everywhere

JoshTx(8a)April 4, 2014

This year has been officially dubbed The Year of the Great Aphid Invasion. I've never seen so many aphids in my (young) life. They're in the pot ghetto, they're on cuttings growing behind glass, they're in the back beds, and they're even in the front beds! And not just a few on each cane, no no, I can start at the bottom of a cane and slide my fingers upward until I have a small ball of aphids in my hand.

I kill some, and then it seems they multiply even more! I've even become paranoid that touching the aphids and then touching another plant will magically spread them! That's how many plants are affected and how bad it is! I keep standing out back with my hand shading my eyes, looking to and fro, praying the ladybugs and lacewings are on their way. But reinforcements have failed to arrive so far. I haven't given up hope yet, but it's looking pretty bleak. They've already killed some small roses.

So this is my SOS good people of GW! How do I turn the tides of this battle! I've been dutifully spraying them off of the bushes but they seem to just hop back up and climb up to their feasts again. The spring flush is on the way and I may sink into a deep depression if the first spring flush I will ever see is ruined by these tiny monsters!


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jerijen(Zone 10)

Can you buy ladybug LARVAE? Look on line for an insectary that mail orders them.

Adult ladybugs fly away. Larvae chow down.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 8:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm 15-20 miles north of Houston and haven't seen aphids yet which is strange as I assume you are north of me.

I usually use Garden Safe insecticidal soap when I'm in the mood to spray although I usually limit spraying to those plague-like chili thrips. I hate those buggers!


    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 9:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sammy zone 7 Tulsa

Josh, are they regular little green aphids. If so, they will not really harm your roses. I would be willing to bet that by Sunday the lady bugs will arrive, and you will ask how to get rid of them.

We live in Tulsa, about 4 hours north of you. When this happens, you end up with a sticky mess to clean up, but very soon you will have your balance again.

Depending upon the infestation and the rose, I often tried to take my fingers over the blooms. Up and down the stem did not seem that necessary. They say that the aphids cannot get back to the rose. It may not die immediately, but it cannot fly again, if knocked down.

I hope you will report each day and tell us how they are doing.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 10:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jerijen(Zone 10)

Sammy's advice is good. :-)

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 10:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alameda/zone 8

I am in east Texas and have started seeing aphids and june bugs. I found out some years ago that what was chowing down on my fat about to open buds was june bugs. I use the insecticidal soap spray - and this seems to take care of them. I inspect most all my roses daily and carry the spray with me. Even when I see young buds developing and there are no aphids, I barely spray the buds to deter them. Have had no ill effects from this and have been doing it this way for years. I always wash them off when I am watering. What really made me mad was the other day I was cleaning a little nest of bag worms off a young cherry laurel tree and happened to notice that my Sophy's Rose, planted close by, which a few days before was leafing out so beautifully, was mostly denuded - leaves just gobbled up down to the stems. I blame the bagworms - guilt by association. This was the only rose eaten this way. I think because it was handy. Got rid of the worms and sprayed the rose, am sure it will leaf out again, but it will be awhile.

I guess bugs are a small price to pay for the beauty of spring but they are certainly a nuisance. I have to spray around the door in my garage going into my kitchen every evening to get rid of the pesky mosquito hawks - otherwise, they will swarm in when I open the door. Still, would rather fight the bugs than worry about the snakes that will be waking up soon......


    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 1:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
nikthegreek(9b/10a E of Athens, Greece)

If I had a greater than usual infestation of aphids, especially if it is in the pot ghetto, I would not hesitate to spray with a pyrethroid insecticide. As always with pests, a few you can leave alone, in cases of mass infestation or when the environment (e.g. pot ghetto, monocultivation, greenhouse) is not natural enough to count on things balancing out, one has to do something unless he's willing to risk loosing plants or flush. Aphids are easy to control partially just with spraying once. No need for full plant cover, just the buds and the young shoots. They will come back but not in the same mass and then you can leave them alone. I do not have a strict no-spray philosophy. My philosophy is to limit the required applications to the minium necessary by being tolerant, by correctly timing applications, not using incorrect pesticides or pesticides stronger than necessary (i.e. not use systemics when I can use something else) and limit the re-use of active ingredients of the same mode action group in one growing season.

Btw, a correctly timed application of horticultural oil goes a long way towards limiting spring infestation by aphids and later infestations by mites, mealybugs and the like. This is just an example of using a less drastic measure at the right point time rather than having to resort to more drastic measures later on. I'm also not sure if multiple applications of seemingly innocent substances like soapy water are not worse than one application of a synthetic pyrethroid one.

This post was edited by nikthegreek on Sat, Apr 5, 14 at 3:24

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 2:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Predator populations always lag their prey--otherwise the predators would starve. Be patient and avoid pesticides. Bees are in dire straits.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 3:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Brittie - La Porte, TX 9a

Yes, I just noticed them in my garden yesterday. There were a ton of ladybugs in the daylilies a few weeks ago, but I think most of them have moved on, now that the daylilies are clean. Hopefully they will come back and take care of the roses as well.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 8:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
peachymomo(Ca 8)

It seems kind of odd but I found that after I put a fountain and bird feeder in my yard the aphid numbers dropped dramatically. I think the finches like to augment the nyjer thistle with some bugs, I love watching them gobble up those little pests.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 10:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Josh, even though we've been cool and wet, I've noticed some mini piles of aphids on my albas and gallicas. I use Sammy's method in the wet spring. Shake, shake, shake. Shake your Buff Beauty! If there is a mountain of aphids on a stem, I also crush the buggers, too. I put the palm of my hand carefully over the top of the bud and my finger tips around the stem and smoosh gently upwards, running the circle of lethal finger tips up the stem and off the end of the bud. Messy fingertips. Bye bye, juicy bugs! Carol

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 11:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sammy zone 7 Tulsa

Yesterday I went out at 10:00 and came in at 6:00. I don't know when the weather has been so nice.

I have lady bugs and bees all over my garden. I did not see all three stages of lady bugs, just the red ones, and I did not really examine the roses well since I have cut back to far.

Since you are probably a couple of weeks ahead of us, and you do not have enough good bugs, I agree with others, buy the larvae and clean off the aphids.

Do you have landscapers who automatically use spray in the lawn? It could be in a product that they use to fertilize, and you would never know it.

Have you seen the Earth kind gardens? Is Dr. Stephen George still the horticulturist, and isn't the entire project in Dallas? I forget which Texas University it is, but I met Dr. Stephen George once when he came to Tulsa to speak to our Rose Society. He is a very good resource if you care to study roses. I was very fortunate to have met with him in a rather small group, and I was able to ask him whatever I wanted. His goal at that time (maybe 10 years ago) was to travel the country, and encourage rose growers to develop their own Earth Kind roses in their own states, and encourage them to spread the news about how important it is to maintain a good environment.

I am curious as to whether he is affiliated with your university. Now I am curious, and will let you know if I get any answers.

Good luck


    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 5:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A few years ago we added a nigel seed bird feeder and 2 hummingbird feeders. The amount of aphids is now in balance. If I see a bud with some aphids I do the squish method.
Yes there are some insecticides that are OK? for the environment; but they are not selective. They kill the targeted bug and the beneficials.
Nature's way of keeping a garden in balance is certainly slower; but for me it is safer.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 8:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes, hummingbirds and small song birds love aphids! Our aphids have not arrived yet, but they will. Each Spring when they do, a few days later a huge flock (over 40 birds) of bush tits shows up - they swarm all over the rose bushes and clean off all of the aphids! I couldn't believe it the first time I saw them. They are very small (3-4 inches) grey sparrow shaped birds. I don't know if they are where you are - my bird book says their range includes Western Texas. They make a high squeeking noise, which is how I notice them.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 10:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I had aphids one year...and sprayed everything with water. The aphids were all back the next day. So, I went over to my weed border (against the horse pasture) and pulled up a few weeds that were covered with lady bugs. I shook the lady bugs into the rose bed...and no more aphids.

Now, I leave a few of these weeds in the back of the garden. Still, no aphids. Maybe this would work for you? The beauty of a cottage garden is that a few weeds just look like a little more variety and color :)

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 2:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
poorbutroserich(Nashville 7a)

For me a strong JET of water (being sure to get the undersides) daily for 5 days really worked. I've ordered ladybug and praying mantis this year. Attracting birds with water (but not feeding them) helped too! I saw lots of little birds hanging out on my canes and chowing down!
My worst problem last year was inchworms (or rose slug or some such). I've moved all the babies out from under the apple tree in the hopes I don't have to deal with that.
I've also bought some lightweight oil...grrrrr...
The aphids will go away tho....

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 3:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh, I think we had those last year! We normally don't have any problems with the apple tree, but we did have little worms last spring and they were a mess. Then one day, many, many chickadees landed in the tree and the worms were all gone! :)

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 4:21PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
I'm back!
Hello, friends! This is Robert from Virginia....formerly...
Robert zone 6 Cleveland
Can anyone help with 'Lady Banks' puzzle?
I took cuttings of R. banksiae lutea and R. banksiae...
Innisfree. Off topic
Well after a long, cool, slow spring, things are finally...
daisyincrete Z10? 905feet/275 metres
Rose Spring Dwarf Disease on Mel's Heritage?
Does this look like Rose Spring Dwarf Disease on Mel's...
Request to post documentary photos on HMF
Lately I've been cataloging the eighty roses from Petrovic...
Melissa Northern Italy zone 8
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™