Identifying and knowing what an aphid is like, what parts it attacks and how it does it is necessary to successfully combat this common pest in our indoor plants. In this post we talk about the aphid , its way of acting on the plant, symbiosis with other organisms and treatments to follow to eliminate it.
GET TO KNOW THIS TINY APHID A LITTLE BETTER
The aphid is known to all , but it is not just one. There are many species (more than 4,000) that will invade and destroy our plants if we let them. Although the aphid is its common name, the truth is that it is a whole family that includes a multitude of species. This family is Aphididae (aphids in Spanish). They measure a few millimeters and are easily identified visually. They are pyriform and of different colors, the most frequent being green, black and yellow. There are differences but what everyone agrees on is the damage they cause to our indoor plants that we care so much about.
WHAT DOES THE APHID DO TO THE PLANT?
The aphid, usually found in the newest parts of the plant, the new shoots and stems that are with maximum activity due to their full development, will be the most immediate objective of these small insects due to the search for nitrogen, which is a very important element. mobile found mostly in these new parts of plants. . For this reason, the first appearances are usually from spring when the plant begins its development activity. We must monitor the young parts of the plants first because it will be there where we will detect small groups at the beginning. The aphid literally sucks the sap from the tissuesof the plant starting with the leaves. It has a suction organ that extracts the sap, leaving the plant without nutrient transport, which results in a serious loss of vigor and severe malformations.
It must also be remembered that the aphid is usually accompanied by other insects and diseases . An example is the ants that collaborate with them in a delicate symbiosis in which the ant, instead of eating the aphid, cleans it, cares for it and protects it from predators, even the ant transports the aphid to other outbreaks when it has already literally finished drying the part he was sucking on. In return, the ant benefits from the honeydew secreted by the aphid.If you detect a severe aphid attack and you find ants birding around the plant, you will be facing a natural machinery of species association that will destroy your plant without remedy. That is why we must put an end to and save our plant from such a symbiotic wonder, cruel to our plant, but being objective, it is impressive, the levels of perfection that these associations reach.
The bold fungus is another “friend” that we will talk about but that is present very frequently with the invasion of aphids. In addition, aphids are vectors of hundreds more than one hundred viruses that affect plants and are difficult to eradicate, but in indoor plants, the latter is usually less common.
ACTION AGAINST APHIDS IN INDOOR PLANTS
If the detection is early, it is usually worth to de-sprout the affected parts and remove the aphids present with warm water under spray pressure. We will also achieve a gentle pruning that will improve the shape of the plant. It is not usually common that by removing the affected parts we eliminate the problem. We will surely have to try.
Among the natural treatments there are different solutions, both preventive and corrective. We have already commented on some a couple of days ago with plant extracts :
- Wormwood infusion (100 g / L in 20% dilution), to prevent the entry of insects into the crop.
- Macerate 500 g of rhubarb leaves in 3 liters and make 3 treatments, one per day to avoid the plague.
- 100 g of garlic minced and macerated with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 liter of water resting for 1 week diluting the broth to 5%. Insecticidal remedy.
- Infusion of fresh nettle leaves (100 g / L). Although this is usually more preventive.
Another way to combat aphids on indoor plants is usually the potassium solution. For this, liquid potassium soap must be diluted in water . The concentrations vary depending on the purity of the potassium soap that is purchased and the format (solid or liquid). They are usually concentrations between 1 and 5% (between 10 and 50 ml / liter of water).
The easy option is to simply go to our garden center, florist or similar and ask for a specific solution for aphids.
NATURAL PREDATORS OF APHIDS
Taking into account that we are dealing with the aphid for indoor plants, this last section is more out of curiosity than a solution. The well-known ladybug or hoverfly are authentic voracious beasts of aphids as if they were chorizo sandwiches, although I don’t think we want to have dozens of ladybugs flitting around the room so we leave this biological fight for the orchard ;-).