Aphids! Aphids are a pest that can be difficult to control. There are many different species of Aphids and many different colors, they also can take on the color of whatever they are feeding on ( I have seen green aphids turn red from feeding on a red pepper).
(fig 1) (fig 2)
These Oleander aphids were on my desert rose plant (Fig 1.) Different species are different colors. The color of the sap that they are feeding on can also affect their color. The other picture here (fig2) is green aphids on my pepper plants. White specs can sometimes be seen on the leaves, they are the skins of aphids and aphid nymphs as they molted.
Aphids can spread viruses from plant to plant because they feed on the leaves. Much the same way that mosquitos spread diseases in mammals, aphids feed on an infected plant then move to another plant and spread the virus. Cucumber mosaic is one of the viruses that aphids spread seen here in tomatoes (fig 3)
Fig 3 (photo cred Kansas State)
In addition to spreading viruses a large colony of Aphids cause other problems. They defecate a sticky liquid referred to as honeydew (fig 4). This sticky liquid drips on other leaves under the Aphid colony and causes fungal diseases like black mold shown here below (fig 5). It almost has a "dirty" look to the leaves.
By Alvesgaspar - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Fig 5,6 black mold
Although black mold take a while to kill most vegetable plants it will get on your fruit. I don’t know about you but eating Aphid poop is not on my list of favorite things to do.
Aphids can be controlled by using insecticidal soaps, Neem oil, Seven, Permethrins, or to DIY use a diluted mixture of dishwashing liquid diluted 1 tablespoon per quart of water. When using soaps make sure to get good coverage and spray heavily. Soaps and surfactants smother insects and basically drown them so you have to get quite a bit on them.
I will have more posts highlighting different pests and diseases coming up. Be sure to message me with questions or comments. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for more tips and tricks. I will do my best to answer any and all questions personally