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Gardener pleads for advice after discovering plant-killing menace: ‘[I] don’t want my other plants affected’

“Don’t go out of your way to poison them, it will hurt other beneficials in your garden.”

"Don’t go out of your way to poison them, it will hurt other beneficials in your garden."

Photo Credit: u/airbornbro82 / Reddit

A gardener who took to Reddit for help in solving an aphid infestation learned a hack to deal with the problem.

“I don’t care about this specific bush but don’t want my other plants affected!” they wrote, sharing photos of milkweed that hosted perhaps thousands of yellow bugs.

"Don’t go out of your way to poison them, it will hurt other beneficials in your garden."
Photo Credit: u/airbornbro82 / Reddit
"Don’t go out of your way to poison them, it will hurt other beneficials in your garden."
Photo Credit: u/airbornbro82 / Reddit

The scoop

Aphids are a common garden nuisance and can really do a number on plants. Oleander aphids, however, are easy to manage — and don’t pose a threat to milkweed, according to the Purdue Landscape Report, which suggested treatment is unnecessary, especially if other insects are present.

Gardeners can manually remove the sap-suckers or use horticultural soap. If beneficial beings are on the plant, they can be moved to a jar or a different plant until the cleansing is complete.

“These aphids are only attracted to a few types of plants,” one user said. “They are commonly known as oleander aphids. Don’t go out of your way to poison them, it will hurt other beneficials in your garden and neighborhood and likely make your pest problems worse in the long-term. Your other plants will likely be unaffected, depending on their botanical family.”

Another user had a couple of ideas.

“I had aphids on my honeysuckle and I put a potted mint plant next to it and the aphids were gone,” they wrote. “They hate mint. Break the leaves around the plants, but keep it in the pot. Mint will spread.

“Also, keep in mind that aphids are usually used by ants like cattle. Control the ants and the aphids should be easier to deal with. With an infestation that bad a multi prong attack may be best.”

How it’s helping

These tips are hassle- and cost-free, which is right in line with the health and economic benefits gardening provides.

One study showed people who took up community gardening increased their fiber intake and activity levels as well as decreased their stress and anxiety levels. In another, participants reported higher levels of well-being, resilience, and optimism. 

Gardens are also beneficial to air, soil, and wildlife, creating oases for pollinators and other fauna.

What everyone’s saying

“I ended up hosing it down and spraying it with super soap and it appears that the remaining aphids are dying off,” the poster wrote. “Keeping an eye on it but a surprisingly simple quick fix.”

Another user responded: “Awesome! It’s great that you saved the bush too.”

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