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Have you been noticing a large number of small pests flying around the city? The aphid population is exploding in Calgary due to suitable weather conditions and the late start to the summer. Despite being an annoyance when enjoying your outdoor oasis, what effect do aphids have on trees and plants?

Like mosquitoes, aphids tend to multiply when weather is suddenly hot right after a heavy amount of rainfall. As vegetation increases, so does the aphid population. According to local tree specialists, aphid populations have doubled since 2012. In order to avoid damage to your plants, use a high-pressure garden hose to remove the insects. Other than that, spiders, ladybugs, and wasps will help take care of a few aphids in your garden.

How do aphids damage the plants in your garden?

Aphids begin by sucking the sap out of the roots, leaves and stems of a plant. In place of the sap, aphids leave a sap of their own called honeydew, which serves to attract other pests. Woody plants tend to recover easily from infestation, but flower seedlings may not recover.

Check for aphid infestations by looking closely at new shoots and underneath leaves. Another way to check is to look for yellow or light red spotting that occurs when aphids are feeding on the plant.

How do you get rid of aphids?

1. Ensure your screens and windows are secured, as aphids can move indoors and infest your indoor plants.
2. If your plants are infested, wash or prune the plant to remove the bugs.
3. Aphids like the colour yellow, so using yellow trap tape in your garden will help remove them.
4. For a natural insecticide, combine hot peppers, onion, garlic and water to the infested plant.

The best way to avoid aphid infestations is to grow plants in healthy, fertile soil. As soon as the cooler weather sets in, the ‘bug boom’ in Calgary will be over.

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