Aphids are a common problem in gardens, and they can cause severe damage and be fatal to plants such as milkweed. But there are ways to get rid of them easily and naturally.
How to Remove Aphids from Milkweed
There are some easy ways to get rid of aphids on milkweed. You can either remove them, kill them or try to prevent them from inhabiting your milkweed in the first place. We’re going to look at a variety of methods that fall under each of the above categories.
Removal by Hand
This is the cheapest and simplest way to remove aphids, but it is not for everyone. Aphids are completely harmless as they cannot bite humans, so removing them by hand will not cause you any damage. However, if you are not great around insects then this method may not be the best one for you.
Deter Them with Orange Peels
Orange peels can kill aphids due to a chemical in their skin that acts as a natural insecticide. Therefore, placing orange peel around the base of your milkweed will drive them away from the plant.
Placing orange peel down when you first start growing milkweed is also a good idea as it should stop aphids from going to that plant in the first place.
Use Natural Aphid Predators
A great way to control the population of aphids is by using natural predators. You can procure these predators from various suppliers, usually those that supply different methods of biological control.
The most common aphid predators that you will be able to procure are ladybugs and lacewing larvae. These bugs are great as they will eat a large number of aphids every day and they also help to maintain a healthy ecosystem within your garden.
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Natural predators are a great way to get rid of aphids on milkweed and other plants as the predators won’t harm plants.
Use Trap Plants
Trap plants are not plants that physically trap aphids, although if you have a substantial amount of Venus fly Traps, they may do the job. Trap plants are plants that attract aphids, and they are strong enough to withstand holding an aphid colony.
An example of a trap plant is a sunflower. The theory behind this is that the aphids will go over to the sunflower, or whatever trap plant you use, and ignore the milkweed. Thus, preventing any further damage from coming to the milkweed as a result of aphids.
There are a couple of other methods you can use such as removal by water or a soap solution. However, monarch butterflies commonly lay their eggs on milkweed plants and using those methods may also result in harming the eggs.
You want to avoid doing this as monarch butterflies are very beneficial for the environment and should be looked after so, stick to the methods above.
Which Aphids are Found on Milkweed?
There are hundreds of species of aphids and many of them have a favourite plant or a favourite small number of plants. Let’s have a look at which aphid species you are most likely to find inhabiting your milkweed.
Oleander aphids can be found on all types of milkweed, in particular, they are often found on common milkweed and swamp milkweed. They are tiny and often a dark yellow or orange colour with black legs and can quickly cause severe damage to your milkweed.
Because of their frequent inhabitation of the milkweed plant they are sometimes known as milkweed aphids.
To summarise, there are a variety of ways you can get rid of aphids on milkweed. You can remove them by hand or employ natural methods such as trap plants and aphid predators.
The aphids you are likely to find on your milkweed plants are oleander aphids. Other milkweed pests include milkweed beetles and milkweed weevils.
Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden