What strange creatures. I wasn’t sure what I was looking at the first time I saw these guys on my broccoli leaves. They were so densely packed they looked like some sort of dusty mold growth with virtually no color. Gray/white patches that seemed to prefer the curled parts of the plant where they didn’t get direct sunlight. After further inspection and research I found a name for these pests…aphids.
The damage they left behind doesn’t seem too serious at this point. Slight discoloration where they feasted. The leaves are pale in these areas.
There are hundreds of species of aphids some harmful, some not. Spraying with plain water or a soapy water mixture will control many species. Others are more persistant and will likely require a chemical insecticide.
As with most things, there may be an upside to having aphids. Lady bugs love them. Keep an eye out to see if your lady bug population grows.
There are companion crops that will attract aphid enemies which I will likely try next year.
- Allysum- attracts hover flies which eat aphids
- Anise- attracts predatory wasps which eat aphids
- Chamomile- attracts hover flies and wasps
- Mints- repel numerous pests including aphids
Companion cropping is a natural way to improve your garden by improving soil and warding off harmful insects or attracting helpful insects.
Its still fairly early on in the season but Im not convinced these aphids are a serious threat to the broccoli. They wash away easily with a bit of pressure from the garden hose and that seems to keep them away for a few days. I will take that as an alternative to nasty chemicals anyday even if it means spraying regularly.