The Q&A Archives: aphids and ants on ficus

Question: I have a previously quite healthy ficus benjamina tree in my bedroom that recently developed an ant colony, as well as sticky leaves and an overall sickly look. Thanks to your fine, searchable archive, I was led in the right direction and have discovered I have aphids on the undersides of most leaves. The question is, what is the best way to get rid of them? I don't want to take this plant outside and hose down the leaves, because it seems to fragile to me. Can I just sponge off the leaves with either plain water or perhaps with inseciticidal soap? What are my best options here?

Answer: Glad you found the archives helpful! I'd use Insecticidal Soap against the aphids. Once you've gotten rid of them and the honeydew on the leaves, the ants won't be quite so interested in the plant. If it were my ficus, I'd spray it with Insecticidal Soap to kill the current aphid population, wait a few hours, then put it in the shower (use cool to tepid water) to rinse off the dead aphids and the residual honeydew. You may need to spray again with Insecticidal Soap if the aphids left eggs on the plant. Follow the label directions for timing of subsequent sprays. Best wishes with your ficus!

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