how to prevent/remove aphids on honeysuckle

lycheeluva(6/7)March 26, 2009

Every year, my honeysuckle plant becomes a magnet for millions of aphids at the time the blooms are swelling, just before they open.

last year i sprayed with bonide bug spray but that damaged the blooms.

is there anything i can do this year to prevent the aphids coming onto the honeysuckle in the first place, and if not, how should i treat the honeysuckles once the aphids arrive?

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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

With the myriad of ladybeetles I have in my home every Spring, I collect them and put them on my ninebark which has an aphid problem also every year. A blast of water also helps and, like most pests, look for them early before there are millions of them.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 8:03PM
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Start by looking closely at the soil this honeysuckle is growing in because Aphids are one sign of a plant growing in unhealthy conditions. To clean Aphids off the plant the best, and easiest, means is a sharp stream of water to knock them off.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 8:19AM
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I have also found ornamental honeysuckle to be yearly aphid magnets in my neck of the woods.
To control.....take a sharp pair of pruners, carefully inspect vine from all sides, fluff any crossed branches, remove mulch/leaves from soil line...quickly clip at soil line:-))) more problem!!

PS.Sometimes the problems with a plant are not worth the time you have to put into it.........

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 11:13PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Very good point, schmoo. One of the fundamental steps in Integrated Pest Management is to learn which plants are known 'magnets' for certain pests, and to avoid bring them into your gardens. That is, unless you're ready and willing to wage battle for a few weeks out of the year. For some, it's worth that battle.

Honeysuckle is, unfortunately, one of those plants.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 1:55PM
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I have exactly the same problem with my honeysuckle and aphids. I do not believe the soil is our problem because we had these bushes professionally moved and replanted by a horticulturist two years ago and he was very good. We've tried soap in a hose-end sprayer, we've tried garlic powder in a hose-end sprayer, we've planted garlic under the honeysuckle bushes, and (long ago) we tried old fashioned toxic insecticide (no more). Is spraying the aphids with a strong blast of water really best? I've contemplated buying ladybettles to release around the honeysuckle, but I'm not sure what time of spring/summer it is best to buy and release them (I am zone 3). Any great non-toxic methods I'm missing here to get rid of those aphids? I really need the magic bullet here! Thanks, -Kim

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 4:30PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

The purchase and release of ladybugs in hopes that they'll stick around to eat aphids where YOU want them to is almost always futile. They'll happily scatter in all directions, far and away.

However, it is important to have a diversity of plants in your yard, keep broad spectrum pesticide use to a minimum (or less), and to foster a good, balanced soil system. That way, ladybugs and a wide variety of other beneficial organisms will occupy your gardens.

Insecticidal soaps (commercial) work better than home remedies and when directed to the aphids can be helpful. I suggest using an oil spray in the winter, too, as aphids lay eggs in the nook and crannies of the bark. And yes, strong blasts of water, if done routinely, can be very helpful.

There is no ONE magic bullet, I'm afraid. Especially when dealing with an aphid magnet such as this. You'll need to use a combination of all of the above.

Me? No honeysuckle in my yard.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 4:47PM
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rhizo, thanks for your response. Just a couple of questions. What is an oil spray? What kind of oil?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 6:11PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

You can find horticultural oil in any location that sells gardening products. There are so many name brands, trade names, and types of oils that I hesitate to name one.

I suggest you do a little internet reading before heading out to your local garden center to see what's available in your area. (See attached link to get you started.)

Horticultural oils have been used for many generations of gardeners, for the (safe and effective) control of a very wide variety of pests. I consider the winter applications of these products as an important step in halting the rapid surge in aphids in the spring. The oils smother the eggs and any lingering adults.

Here is a link that might be useful: C'mon....let's do some reading!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 12:24PM
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rhizo, THANK YOU so much! I read the information you linked. Interestingly, it was from Colo State Univ. Extension. I'm in Colorado and have an extension office in my town. I'm going to call them or go and see them because on the winter spraying issue it says not to do it at temps below freezing. Where I live it is hard to find a time in winter when we are not below freezing. But everything here has been very helpful and I'm on a mission to get the best of those aphids this summer! Cheers, -Kim

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 12:40PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

You're very welcome, Kim.

By the way, you can spray DECIDUOUS plants in the winter-time without a problem, just not evergreens. You do want to avoid spraying while it's below freezing, because you won't get good coverage of the stems, but not because of the possibility of damage.

Of course, you could get in an application or two in the late winter/early spring before the buds break.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 3:33PM
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