3 Curious Things I Didn't Know about the Aphid

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Last year I was walking on the beach here in L.A. and I saw a gal wearing this Aphids Suck tee. I remember thinking: if there isn't a t-shirt for everything now! Man-o-man. Poor aphids.

Cut to last month and my rose bushes were suddenly coated with the little buggers, just as the new growth was starting to come in! What to do?

Spray or pray?

My conscience said pray they'd go elsewhere and infest someone else's bushes; but the part of me that had been working so arduously all winter for healthy roses said spray "˜em!

So I went to the nursery and picked up not a chemical spray, but a mini-primer on the aphid, instead.

aphid.jpg Curious fact #1: You can hose the suckers off with water! That's right: no poison necessary—just a spray nozzle on your hose.

ladybug.jpg Even more curious fact #2: Another way to get rid of them is by attracting ladybugs to your infected plant. Each ladybug is capable of consuming up to 50 to 60 aphids per day! In terms of weight/size proportions, that would be like you eating 50 to 60 whole trout every day. Yeah, that's a lot of fish.

Aphid-giving-birth.jpg Even WAY more curious fact #3: Aphids are born pregnant! Yup, they are what's known as parthenogenic (from the Greek words meaning virgin and creation), meaning they don't need a male to become impregnated. Think of the unborn offspring as organs, growing inside the aphid as she grows inside her mother. Pretty cool, eh?

So if you see someone wearing one of those Aphids Suck tees, consider accosting the owner and scribbling a DON'T in there, "˜cause I can think of a million things that suck a whole lot more than the very cool little, often-harmless aphid.

March 19, 2008 - 11:24pm
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