The Q&A Archives: Aphids and Whiteflies on Fuchsias

Question: I seem to have a great deal of trouble with pests, especially aphids and whiteflies, on my fuchsias, and any pesticide I use does more damage than the bugs. Please give me a suggestion on what pesticide I can use without killing my plants.

Answer: Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a philosophy of controlling pests by starting with the simplest, least toxic method first, and if that isn't successful, moving on from there. You can often use a hose to simply wash off aphids and whiteflies. Spray the plants thoroughly, including the undersides of the leaves. Do this daily if you notice insects.

If that doesn't work, try a soapy water spray. Use 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons of liquid soap per gallon of water. Use regular, not concentrated, soap. Don't use soaps with lemon, as the citric acid can burn plants Start with the lower amount and work up as needed. Spray as often as needed. As with any spray you might wish to test it on a few leaves first before you treat all your plants. Next on my list would be an insecticidal soap spray. The insecticidal soaps are made from plant-derived fatty acids and target soft-bodied insects.

Ladybugs and their larvae are voracious eaters of aphids. They often arrive on the scene a week or two after the aphids, so avoid spraying with chemicals if you want to attract them to your garden to consume aphids for you.

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