aphidsHave you noticed aphids on your plants or trees outside? Aphids, also known as plant lice, are small sap-sucking insects. Aphids are among the most destructive insect pests on cultivated plants in temperate regions. The damage they do to plants has made them enemies of farmers and gardeners the world over. Before you run to the store and grab the first chemical you find, which may be toxic to other good insects and could cause problems for your environment, try soap.

This isn’t your typical soap; it’s called insecticidal soap, which is defined as any of the potassium fatty acid soaps used to control many plant pests. Insecticidal soap is typically sprayed on plants in the same manner as other insecticides. Insecticidal soap works only on direct contact with the pests. The fatty acids disrupt the structure and permeability of the insect’s cell membranes. The cell contents are able to leak from the damaged cells, and the insect quickly dies.

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