Hungry Insects Are Attacking Green Country Gardens And Flower Beds

Monday, June 11th 2012, 7:45 am
By: News On 6

The OSU Extension Office is warning Tulsa-area homeowners about a surge in a certain bug that can attack your plants.

The office says a lot of homeowners think ants are out of control in their yards, but the real problem is aphids.

"They'll pile up on the end of growing plants, and then they excrete honey dew out their back end, and then the ants will come in and the ants are sucking up the sugary substance. So we've been getting a lot of calls about ants eating my flowers," said Master Gardener Brian Jervis.

Usually, aphids show up in March, but they're showing up again now.  And that explains why you're seeing more ants.  The ants aren't eating your flowers, Jervis says the aphids are.

The little soft bodied insects are either a greenish or yellowish color and Jervis says you can find them under leaves.

So how do you get rid of them?

First, try insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. If that doesn't work, after about a week you should check with the OSU Extension Office about some harsher chemicals you can use.

Problem is those harsher chemicals could kill off the lady bugs which actually feed off the aphids and keep the population down.

Another idea is to plant marigolds along side your other plants.  

"Marigolds have such a smell to it, that it does detract away from the aphids or keeps them away. A lot of people in their vegetable gardens will plant marigolds sporadically," said Brian Jervis.