Q: I was taking out my pansies in early April and noticed three-fourths of them were filled with small bugs. I think that they are lacebugs, but didn’t think that they were out this early.
I have a problem every year with lacebugs on my azaleas. Could this be where they are coming from?
A: What a good shot of…..APHIDS! Like lacebugs, aphids suck sap from plant leaves. But the two creatures generally don’t invade the other’s turf. Lacebugs damage azalea, rhododendron, gardenia, etc and aphids hurt other plants.
The warm weather of early spring triggers the too-early arrival of several insects. Would you believe I slapped my first mosquito on March 30?
Since you have already removed the pansies, lots of adult aphids went with them. There are still a few around, though. I’m a big believer in using few, if any insecticides, when fighting aphids. They make a tasty snack for dozens of beneficial insects, which I don’t want you to kill with bug spray. Keep an eye on the new annuals you plant in the bed. If you see aphids, use insecticidal soap (or a strong stream of water) to control them.