GROW O'ahu

Island Style Gardening and Plant-Based Living

Death By Aphid


Aphids are absolute proof that little things DO matter.

I loathe these little buggers.  In our climate, an aphid infestation can decimate a crop in about 48 hours, or so it seems.  First signs are yellowing leaves, and then by the next day there’s the shiny gooey stuff on the leaves below or next to the infested plants.  By the third day, flowers were dropping and by the fourth day the little cucumbers were clearly stunted and were not going to grow anymore.

If you don’t know anything about aphids, Virginia Cooperative Extension has a nice summary.  I don’t live in Virginia, but the issues are the same and Extension services are always a good place to get reputable information.

I’m hesitant to spray anything on the garden at all, even insecticidal soaps that are approved for organic gardening because of killing or repelling beneficial insects too, such as the lady bug larvae that eat aphids, parasitic wasps and of course bees that pollinate.

This particular death in the garden also coincided with a busy time at the “paid” job when I wasn’t paying as much attention to my plant babies as I should have been. Sorry cukes!

As I replant and rotate (year round growing requires this) I’m working in more integrated pest management than before which includes planting more flowering plants and herbs to draw in the beneficial insects and also bait for the ants around the garden who are farming those aphids and assisting with their hostile takeover.

However, it pays to continue to water a plant that you think you killed! The aphids also dug into my squash which surprised me as typically they only like the cucumber.  The plant was weakened but sprouted this little squash anyway and it is large now and ready for picking.

Author: Carmen

Things I love: justice in all forms; flowers; locally grown food; cloth-diapering; breastfeeding; feminist theory; outdoor play; beaches; wine; Divine interventions; 4-H and coffee. Things I loathe: racism; homophobia; toxic crap; misogyny; litterbugs; the zombie apocalypse and pitbull-haters. My formal education is in sociology, gender studies, and public policy. I'm also a Lactation Educator; 4-H Youth Development coordinator a Certified Master Gardener and a graduate of a Permaculture Design Course. I've been blogging for several years on dozens of topics- everything from women's health to breed-specific legislation. But the thing I like to write about most is my gardening, food adventures and my kids. So there you have it. Please be kind. Thanks.

5 thoughts on “Death By Aphid

  1. Aphids destroyed my okra plants last year. I even bought a whole slew of Ladybugs, but that only held them off for a short while. The ladybugs sure were fun to watch, though!

    • That is Soooo frustrating! And we just talked about ladybugs in our master gardener class. Conclusion was they fly away unless we purposefully draw them in with flowering plants. They are pretty & fun though 😉

      • Ahh! That makes sense. Mine were released in the grow camp, and I kept the area very moist for them as instructed, but they still quickly left the camp over the course of a few days. I assumed they just couldn’t find their way back in, but I’ll bet the lack of flowering plants inside didn’t help.

  2. Aphids are driving me insane at the moment. They are horrible this year. At least I know I’m not alone . . .

  3. Nope. Not alone, in fact just yesterday I found more of the creepy little things on my kale, which is located on the other side of our house, away from the rest of the garden. I’m about to wage war. 🙂


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