Aphids on my Honeysuckle plant


What is the best way to treat this problem. It appears that every other year they appear.


Hello, thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners, I am sorry to hear that your Honeysuckle is being attacked by aphids.

Honeysuckle Lonicers are typically easy care plants, and generally are free of pests and diseases if they are growing in the right spot. They prefer full sun, but will tolerate some shade. They need to be watered well until established, and after that the soil should be kept moist but not wet.  They will thank you for a top dressing of compost in the spring and a cover of mulch to help conserve moisture.  Aphids however are on the top of the list of common pests

There are over 300 species of aphids that live in the Ontario area. They come in a wide variety of colours ranging in black, brown, grey, green, white, red, and yellow. Young aphids or nymphs also look different than adult aphids. The youth are more transparent and the adults are darker in colour with more pronounced antennae and legs. Its possible that if it looks like an aphid and has one of these colours and aphid attributes it is an aphid. Aphids reproduce rapidly and can grow to have large populations and decimate large amounts of plant material in a short time.

To control aphids before they cause damage you can create a habitat friendly to predatory species that prey on aphids such as lacewings, predatory wasps, and ladybugs to eat them. To promote beneficial insect habitat it is recommended that you provide nectar producing plants in the garden, provide a drinking or watering hole, and provide a shady place for them to hide during heat spells. It is not recommended to  use insecticides indiscriminately as that can reduce predatory insect populations in the long run and cause the aphid populations to grow larger as a result. We need long term and nonchemical solutions for these problems while promoting pollinators as well.

The  best solution to ridding your plants of these pests is your garden hose set on full blast. Spraying them will knock them to the ground and they will be unable to return to the host. Do this every few days until you no longer see any signs of them. Where aphid infestation is abundant you can use horticultural  soap, which is available at your local garden center. Make sure to follow directions on the label.

Aphids could overwinter in your garden in standing weeds or dead plants. Do not wait until the springtime to clean up the garden, as this can provide a perfect habitat for aphid eggs. Inspect trees and bushes for aphid eggs in the fall, remove them by hand, vacuum or with a strong blast of water.

The following websites give additional information on how to control these pests.

Good luck !