Friday, June 18, 2010
That said, I do have a flowering honeysuckle vine that I adore. Probably because it's the one plant I've been able to nurture beyond two years (6 yrs old right now) and actually see it thrive. It climbs up the trellised bench on my deck. And every May/June it blossoms with pretty yellow/orange flowers. Life was good. The vine took care of itself. I was rewarded with flowers.
Until three years ago when the aphids moved in.
I was dumbstruck that first year, not sure what to do when I noticed the leaves falling off and the leaves that did not fall off were covered with millions of tiny white bugs. Bleech. The second year they returned, with new forces and, I was guessing, trillions in their ranks instead of mere millions. But they don't just ruin the plant, they also ruin the deck boards. Aphids exude 'honeydew', which is a sticky dewy-looking substance. That drops onto the deck and literally turns the boards black. And no, it doesn't wash off. And all that sticky honeydew (aphid poo, if we're calling it like it is) attracts flies. As a result, what isn't apparent in the photo of the vine, is that it looks full and healthy on the top and then there looks like a patch of leaves below but between below and up top it is bare. That's where most of the leaves have died and fell off and even some branches.
So last year I researched online and found that one should pluck off the aphids to get rid of them. Seriously? I felt overwhelmed staring at the ranks of trillions, maybe even a hundred-gazillion (actual aphid count is a guesstimate). The deck turned black again last year.
This year I am determined to hold them off at the pass. I bought some aphid spray. The spray is not completely natural, which bugs me to no end, but really, what bugs me more? You got it, the aphids. And this year I have been checking the leaves daily, before the flowers even popped out, and immediately sprayed whenever I saw telltale white powder, or a little white creepy thing. The vine actually bloomed quite nicely this year, but only thanks to my vigilance. My hubby gets out the tall ladder once a week and I climb up to reach the very top of the vine, and saturate it with the spray.
But still, they are resistant. Those buggers just keep coming back! I think I've reduced their numbers from amillionty-gazillion to thousands, though, so I have hope. But already, our deck is starting to darken below the vine. Sigh...
Anyone struggle with aphids? Found a surefire way to combat the troops?