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Aphid invasion causing a buggy situation in Calgary

Aphids on a Spirea Bush Courtesy: iStock

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — If you have ventured outside on a mild Calgary evening over the past few weeks, you may have found yourself swatting at the air a little more than normal.

There’s an influx of aphids this year, with countless little insects buzzing around causing a nuisance.

It’s not too dramatically different from some other years, but conditions were perfect for a high population this summer and fall.

“We had a fair amount of moisture in this part of the province, more so than maybe previous years, and that affords a lot of plant growth,” said Dr. Ken Fry, an instructor in the School of Animal Science and Horticulture at Olds College. “Since the aphids feed on plants, they’ve had lots of food, so their numbers build up over the summer. And hence, you get large numbers in the fall going to head out to over-winter.”

Aphids don’t really live that long, but this is their most active time of year.

The bugs are deep in the throes of mating season, and afterwards, need to find a nice safe place to store their eggs over the winter.

While it is an annoyance for now, fortunately, Fry is confident it will not last much longer.

“So, as the temperatures cool they become less and less mobile, and they are certainly short-lived anyways — so, one to two weeks. If we get a killing frost, that’s minus seven degrees Celsius, that will just absolutely wipe them out,” Fry said.

If you want to get the bugs off your plants, you can mix up a batch of soapy water and spray it on the aphids, which dries them out.

It also helps to dress in dark clothing, as they will be more attracted to bright colours like green.