Red bugs on Heliopsis

birdie(z5 IN)May 28, 2009

I just noticed that my perennial sunflowers had tons of little red bugs around the tops, where buds would be in time and down the stem. When you squish them something like blood comes out of them -- at least i think it came out of them... I know that I wasn't so much 'smearing' them -- it really looks like blood. I removed all of the places where they were and disposed of the plant and bugs -- tipping the plants at this time is okay, but what are they? And if they come back, what should I use that is more "green" for the bees, etc. I won't be able to handle it like this next time.

These were like aphids, but a little bigger, and red.

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Aphids come in many colors, Milkweed Aphids are orange, many others are green and on Heliopsis they are red. The best way to control them, if that is needed, is a sharp stream of water to knock the wee buggers of the plant, and encourage lady beetles to feed on them.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 7:59AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

We can't really help you with a solution without a better idea of what you might be observing. Take a look at some images of aphids on the internet. Even though they come in a wide range of colors and sizes, there's not much mistaking aphids for something else.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 10:03AM
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I just had the same problem on my heliopsis this week. Every single stem was 90% covered with red aphids. Yet not one on any nearby plants in the same bed. I've had the plants about 10 years and never saw this before. I sprayed them as best I could with water, then sprayed the remainder with neem oil insecticidal soap. so far so good. just some black residue.

I just came back from a walk and noticed the same exact thing on a subdivision entry planting on their heliopsis. The landscaping crew doesn't really tend the area, other than spring cleanup. I will be curious to see how/if the heliopsis survive the aphid attack.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 7:37PM
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Yes I have them all over mine. I know I often have a spider that likes to lay its babies on them and they don't seem to do much damage.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 1:16PM
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Heliopsis are notorious for attracting red aphids. I've had so many that I pulled all the tops off the plants (I find the aphids gross and the plants are fairly hard to kill), but last year there were no aphids at all. This year they're back. I've never had much faith in the stream of water technique, so I usually dispose of infested shoots to keep the population down. Insecticidal soap spray or neem will probably work, too. The aphids don't seem to kill the plants, which are pretty sturdy.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 5:20PM
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The bugs don't appear to hurt the plants, so your efforts may be better focused elsewhere.

Who knows....they may actually be beneficial.

Mine have flourished for years with them.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 5:06PM
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