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If you see small gray or green bugs crawling all over your sundew, chances are they are aphids. Drosera plants eat these, but too many and they can cause serious damage. Here are the best methods to get rid of these pests and safeguard your plant.
Spray cold water or neem oil on the leaves every two days for two weeks. Increasing the humidity and light around the sundew can also prevent an aphid infestation.
How to Kill Aphids on Sundew
There are several ways to get rid of aphids on sundews. The right method depends on the severity of the infestation.
- If there are only a few aphids, spraying the leaves with cold water should work. If your sundew is outdoors, a downpour will wash them, just one of the many benefits of rain for sundews. You can use soapy water or IMUSTGARDEN Insect spray for stubborn pests that will not go away.
Check the plant after spraying to see if there are any bugs left. Repeat the process for any remaining aphids.
- If there is a large sundew infestation, submerge the plant in water or scatter flour all over the leaves. This will constipate aphids and force them to leave. Water on the other hand, drowns the pests. It will not harm your sundew because this plant loves water.
- You can use neem oil, horticultural oils, insecticide sprays or soaps. There are many products available specifically for removing aphids on plants. Follow the instructions before using any of these products on your sundew.
- A simple solution is to prepare soapy water. Add a teaspoon of liquid dish soap to a quart of water. Spray this onto the sundew. You can also add a bit of cayenne pepper but that is optional . Spray the sundew with this soapy water mix every two days. After two or three weeks your plant should be free of aphids.
Whichever method you use, keep an eye on the plant after each treatment. Most of the aphids will have died or left after the first spray. Some will remain so inspect closely.
If there is no new infestation, your plant is fine. If there are more aphids coming, relocate your sundew. usually though that will not be necessary.
Signs of Aphids in Sundew
You will have no problem finding signs of a large aphid infestation. You will literally see the small green bugs crawling all over your sundew. But there are other indicators that an infestation is spreading. Knowing what these are can help prevent its spread.
The most common signs of sundew damage caused by aphids are:
- The leaves are deformed or misshapen in some way. Leaves might curl up.
- There is sticky stuff on the plant. Do not confuse this with the dew that sundews produce. This is waste produced by aphids.
- Brownish, yellowish or blackish leaves. Sundew leaves can change color for other reasons too, so check this guide on why sundew leaves turn black
- Mold covers parts of the tentacles or leaves. In most cases the leaves turn black.
- Aphids causes flowers to deform. This can also happen to sundews assuming you allow the plant to bloom.
- Aphids can transmit viruses that attack and kill plants.
Knowing these signs is crucial to preventing their spread. It is also necessary so you can take the right action.
If you can literally see the aphids on the plant, follow any of the recommended steps given earlier. But even if you do not see any of these pests, they could still be there, hiding. That is why knowing the signs is so important.
Deformed leaves are the most common sign something is wrong with your sundew. You may not realize right away that aphids are the cause. But misshapen leaves tell you something is wrong with the plant.
The other clear signs are brownish, blackish or yellowed leaves. It is normal for old leaves to turn brown or black. But if you see several of these at once it could be a sign of infestation.
Aphids also like to conceal themselves in leaves by curling them. So if you see any curled leaves on your sundew, examine it closely.
How to Prevent Aphids From Spreading
If one of your sundews has aphids, isolate it from the rest. The last thing you need is for these aphids to get into the other plants. Do check the others for signs of infestation too.
Use any of the aphid removal methods above when you have isolated the sundew from the others. Keep the plant apart while you are treating it. Wait at least one week after you have removed all the aphids before returning the plant.
The simplest way to prevent insect infestation is to nip it in the bud. Isolate the affected sundew, treat it, and then figure out what caused the aphids to attack.
If it is due to insufficient light or low humidity for instance, increase them both. This will prevent the aphids from returning and also protect your other plants. If your sundew is indoors, you may use KEELIXIN Grow Lights. These are indoor lights that stimulate plants as if they are getting natural sun
But if the aphids were drawn by something else, like too much water for instance, make the proper adjustment. Once you have done this, the plant should make a full recovery.
How to Prevent Aphid Infestation
Knowing how to kill aphids and the signs of infestation are crucial. But just as important is being able to take preventive steps. Use the following tips to prevent aphids from pestering your sundew.
- Increase the humidity and light. Sundews prefer high humidity and lots of light. Under these conditions it is unlikely for aphids to attack. On the other hand, low humidity and lack of light makes sundews vulnerable.
- Sundews prefer to sit in water, but if the water level is too high it will draw aphids. if you already increased humidity and light but aphids are still there, lower the water level. For a 10 inch container, 1 to 2 inches of water is enough
- Rose bushes, garlic, peas, chives, lettuce and garlic deter aphids and other insects. Plant these alongside your sundew and it should keep pests at bay. Aphids do not like catnip either so you might want to have those close by.
- There are many insects that eat aphids such as parasitic wasps and ladybugs. While having these around keep aphids at bay, they might damage your sundews. It is better to use any of the other methods given here to deter aphids.
A spray mix consisting of isopropyl alcohol and water is also effective. Combine equal parts water and 70% isopropyl alcohol. Spray in a small area first. Some sundews do not take alcohol well. Wait a few days to see if there is any adverse reaction. If you want to be cautious, use water to spray the bugs off.
How to Identify Aphids
Aphids are about 1/4 inches long so they are hard to see. Most of them are green but others are gray, pink, brown or white. Some aphid variants have wings which allows them to move from plant to plant.
The fact they are also green makes it even harder to notice them on a plant. But if your sundew has red leaves, you should be able to spot these, especially if there is an infestation.
Like other insects, aphids are usually found in clusters. It is unlikely you will come across just one or two on a sundew. When you do see these insects on your plants, you have to act quickly to prevent damage.
Once you have identified and confirmed the presence of aphids, you might be tempted to use just any insect spray. It is better to do some research and choose a safe product or try the natural methods given here.
Aphids can attack any plant, and that includes sundews. If you have any plans of raising a drosera, knowing how to deal with these potential threats is necessary. Hopefully this guide was able to help you.
My fascination with carnivorous plants began many, many years ago with Venus Fly Traps. Now I am more than happy to impart what I know with other enthusiasts and those who are curious about meat eating plants.