Aphids – Whats The Deal Here?

Q: I have bugs on my chrysanthemums. We think these are aphids…tiny sesame seed shaped
black insects stuck all over the upper stems of the plants. How can they eat a plant from which the insecticide pyrethrin is made?

A: Aphids aren’t affected by your chrysanthemum because you aren’t growing the plant from which pyrethrin is made. The garden chrysanthemum is ^Chrysanthemum coccineum^. The plant from which the insecticide is made is ^Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium^. It is grown in Kenya, Tanzania and Ecuador. The flowers are harvested in the summer and dried. The petals are dried to make a powder which is a very fast-acting but short-lived insecticide. Most aphids can be knocked off your plants with a blast from a water hose.