Old methods are best for pest control

The phalaenopsis orchid is proving very popular.
The phalaenopsis orchid is proving very popular.

A colony of aphids can seemingly appear out of nowhere, but is generally the result of eggs on plants recently brought in from the cold.

Typical of this are citrus fruits that have spent summer in the garden. Last week I noticed the tell-tale sign of white specs on a Citrus sinensis (orange) leaf. Not white fly, thank goodness, but the discarded skins of aphids, which are shed as they gorge themselves on plant sap.

There was also a slight stickiness from the ‘honeydew’ they produce during the feeding process. This, in turn, encourages the development of sooty mould so immediate action was required.

The large pot was carried outside to the patio and stood in the sun on an unbelievably warm (13C) December day, whilst the lady of the house gently sponged all surfaces with the oldest and safest insecticide in the book – a soft soap solution.

A greenfly colony can develop so rapidly and other plants are open to infection so I have the small hand spray that cost circa £1 nearby. With a thimbleful of washing-up liquid and topped up with warm water, we’re ready for action.