Description: The aphid is a 1/16 to 3/8 inch long and found throughout North America. They are soft bodied pear shaped insects with a hollow, piercing mouth tube used to suck out vegetable plant juices. It has two wax-secreting tubes on the back end of the body which secrete a sticky, sugary substance called honeydew. Nymphs resemble adults but are smaller and wingless.
Damage: There are many kinds of aphids and they reproduce like there is know tomorrow. They show up early in the Heirloom / Open Pollinated vegetable gardening season and gather on the tips of young leaves or stems. They suck out plant juices and inject toxins, causing vegetable plants to yellow and lose vigor. Aphids transmit viruses and other serious garden plant diseases.
Plants affected: Aphids feed on most Heirloom / Open Pollinated Vegetable Garden plants, especially Heirloom / Open Pollinated Beans, Eggplant, Okra, Peas, Pepper, Potato, and Tomato.
Home control: Rub aphids off the plant leaves or spray with a mild soapy water solution. Aphids have natural enemies in the vegetable garden like the ladybug and the trichogramma wasp. You can try to attract predators by planting pollen and nectar plants like yarrow and sweet alyssum.
Commercial control: Spray with rotenone, pyrethrum, or malathion.