Aphids? Minions?
July 4, 2015 12:19 PM   Subscribe

I planted milkweed this year to provide a rest stop for Monarchs, and today I noticed these yellow bugs on several of the plants. They appear to be aphids, and I'm not sure if I need to get rid of them.
posted by Johnny Wallflower to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
Yep, those are aphids. I'd be leery about chemical controls, though, as they might affect the caterpillars. Ladybirds and their larvae are great biological controls, though.
posted by Solomon at 12:36 PM on July 4, 2015

I get regular aphid infestations (shepherded by ants) on my apple trees. I find that if I remove most of the infested leaves (and just throw them on the ground) that's enough to (mostly) eliminate the problem.

Another technique is to blast them off with a hose now and again. A lot of people swear by spraying soapy water on them. I prefer not to as I also have beneficial spiders and ladybirds, and I wouldn't want to harm those.
posted by pipeski at 1:35 PM on July 4, 2015

Buy some cheap rolling tobacco, put a wad in some boiling water, and use the resulting tobacco water as a natural insecticide.
posted by monospace at 3:28 PM on July 4, 2015

Fight them with hose blasting routinely, as pipeski noted. Early on can make a difference too.
posted by Brian B. at 5:04 PM on July 4, 2015

Yeah, don't use anything on the milkweed that might harm the monarchs. Stripping off the infested leaves or blasting them with the hose like pipeski recommends seems like the best advice.
posted by limeonaire at 8:09 PM on July 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

The milkweed might tolerate the aphids.
posted by Oyéah at 9:40 PM on July 4, 2015

Soapy water and a spray bottle. Job done.
posted by humboldt32 at 7:13 AM on July 5, 2015

Thanks for the info. I'm loath to use anything that might harm the Monarchs, so spraying them off it is! The plants do seem to tolerate the aphids, so I do it only every couple of days.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:19 PM on July 14, 2015

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