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Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects, which are usually
2 – 4 mm long. Aphids often cluster on young shoots
and flower buds or underneath older leaves. There are many
different species of aphids which vary in colour from green
to yellow and black. Aphids attack fruit trees, roses, camellias,
chrysanthemums other ornamentals and a wide range of vegetables.
Aphids also transmit virus diseases such as broad bean wilt.
Small colonies multiply rapidly in warm weather, and large
infestations can develop in a number of days. Check your
plants a couple of times a week at the beginning of warm
weather so that aphids can be controlled when populations
are relatively small. Look out for natural predators such
as ladybirds and parasitic wasps. The tiny wasp lays eggs
inside the aphid giving it a hard light brown shell like
appearance. The ladybird larvae which looks like tiny bird
droppings are actually voracious eaters of aphids. Both
of these predators will reduce aphid numbers rapidly once
Buds may fail to open and leaves are twisted and distorted.
New growth may be stunted. Because aphids excrete a substance
called honeydew, this provides an environment on which sooty
mould fungus can grow. Removing the source of the honey
dew will usually solve the sooty mould problem as well.