The Q&A Archives: Pest Control on my Potato Vines

Question: Hi, I just purchased a monrovia potato vine to grow on my arbor. However, I noticed after a month that there are very tiny green bugs all over the branches. It makes it hard for me to trim and wind the vines. I used a pesticide that I bought at my garden center and mixed it with water and sprayed my vines but the green bugs do not go away. Can you help me? and do you know what they are?

Answer: Without a better description of the insects, I can't say for certain what they might be. I suspect they are aphids, especially if they colonize on the tender new growth of your plant. Aphids are difficult to control; adults give birth to live young, which are capable of giving birth to even more live young. You can actually have several generations of aphids feeding on the same stem of your plant. Natural predators such as ladybugs usually show up when the aphid population is high, but spraying pesticides can kill the beneficial ladybugs. Take a sample of a stem covered with insects to your local nursery or garden center for positive identification. Be sure to seal it in a plastic bag! Once you know for certain which pest you're dealing with, you can use the appropriate control. For aphids, the botanically derived Insecticidal Soap will kill soft-bodied aphids without harming beneficial insects such as ladybugs. Be sure to read the label and apply as recommended. Best wishes with your potato vine!

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