Aphids on Indoor Seedlings - Knowledgebase Question

Merion, PA
Question by RandRF
December 25, 1997
How do I deal with aphids on seedlings? I tried spraying 'Safers Soap', but it BURNED some of the seedlings. I've heard about those yellow sticky traps, but how well do they work?


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Answer from NGA
December 25, 1997

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Aphids can be quite exasperating! Sounds like you're providing your unwelcome guests with continual spring like weather under those artificial lights, and the new tender growth of your seedlings are the perfect meal for them. Aphids bear live young that are capable of bearing live young in a matter of hours. You can have four or five generations feeding on your plants all at once, which is why they're so difficult to control. If you want to use Safer's Insecticidal Soap, spray it on and then wash it off in 15 or 20 minutes so it won't burn your plants. There are some residual properties, but Safer's is most effective when the spray makes direct contact with the soft bodied aphids.

Yellow sticky traps are effective and you can make them yourself with yellow cardboard or construction paper smeared with petroleum jelly or light weight motor oil. Just attach squares of the treated paper to ice cream sticks and place them at the height of the plants. Aphids will be attracted to the yellow color and will get stuck in the sticky stuff.

The only other control measure I can suggest is to wash the plants down a few times a day with a stream of water strong enough to dislodge the pests. Eventually you'll interrupt their feedinglong enough to eliminate them and to save your seedlings.

Good luck!

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