Scouting for insects: Aphids

Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.

Editor’s note: This information is from the new field guide
A Pocket Guide for IPM Scouting in Herbaceous Perennials. For ordering information, call 517-353-6740 or visit:

Aphids use their piercing-sucking mouthparts to withdraw fluids from terminal growth and leaf undersides. This results in leaf curling or distortion. Aphids produce honeydew, a clear, sticky liquid. Aphids feeding on plants outdoors are susceptible to many beneficial insects (natural enemies), including parasitic wasps, ladybird beetles, green lace-wings and hover flies. Many species of aphids feed on a wide variety of herbaceous perennials. (view images)

A hard water spray will quickly remove aphids from plants and minimally affect any beneficial insects. Avoid overfertilizing and overwatering plants. Remove weeds from adjacent areas – many weeds serve as a reservoir for aphids. Contact and systemic insecticides may be effective in controlling aphids.

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