Gardening has so many benefits for me. It is therapeutic, rewarding, and gives me so many different reasons to get outside and immerse myself in observation, small projects, and the environment’s intricateness. Each time it seems like I learn something new. Mostly because my observations persuade me to research a bit of information I was unaware of before. Unfortunately, the other day my examinations led to knowledge about a new pest on my beautiful honeysuckle plant, dreaded aphids😖.
This discovery was very disappointing to me. When I planted this vine last year it grew beautifully and flowered late in the season, sometime in August. Since it is a perennial, it automatically reemerged this spring and grew vigorously. It was one of the first plants to start growing as soon as spring arrived and was well on its way to an exceptional blossoming.
Yet, when I was outside the other day doing my daily surveillance of the garden, after a day and a half of rainfall, I glanced over and noticed something peculiar about the honeysuckle. It looked like all the ends were drooping and withering up. This seemed odd, especially since it had just rained. Well, upon closer inspection I noticed that tiny bluish/green bugs were covering almost every flower bud at the tips of all the vines.
Being avid about not using any harmful chemicals or pesticides, I went to the house to retrieve a scissors and some vinegar; thinking I could remove the pests by snipping off the infected parts and dunking them in the vinegar. Then I noticed the bag of Organic food grade Diatomaceous Earth left over from a year and a half ago when I had to painstakingly rid our house and dog of fleas.
It is known as an all natural alternative to insecticides because it kills crawling insects by literally scraping at their exoskeleton and drying them out. It helped with a huge colony of ants in the garden last year so, since it is safe, I decided to try it for this as well. (For more info/uses of DE click here) The process was tedious and upsetting because I had to remove so many of the soon-to-be blossoms from the plant. It seemed like the only effective way to really combat the infestation; nip it in the bud!
I also applied the Diatomaceous Earth directly to some difficult to remove areas on the plant itself and on the ground at the base. One downfall to this is, since it works most effectively when dry, the minute it rains its ability to combat bugs highly decreases. This means reapplication is necessary throughout the season or at least until the signs of these life sucking insects are gone.
Yes, they collect by the buds and new leaves and suck the sustenance out of the plant. This is why the leaves shrivel and change color. Luckily some were untouched and escaped attack so there will still be a few florets. I have been making sure to check daily for signs of infestation, but it looks like once the buds have opened enough they are safe from harm!
This is not an edible plant, but it is supposed to attract hummingbirds, butterflies and other pollinators. Since feeders are more maintenance than I have time for and the food is costly for someone on a tight budget, I chose plants as my means of luring flying critters to our urban backyard. Another tactic to pest control is predators, so I think it’s time to invest in some ladybugs for the garden! Hopefully my efforts will pay off. In the end, it’s all worth it though because I’m always learning something new!
Thanks for visiting & reading 🌻❤️🌞☮️🦋,