Today we realized our new milkweed seedlings have aphids, bright yellow Oleander Aphids to be exact. When large colonies of these aphids exist they can harm or even kill the host plants.
So what to do?! After doing a little reading, Oleander Aphids love milkweed, butterfly weed, and of course, oleander.
It seems most sustainable gardeners use blasts of water to remove the little yellow guys, and then a natural insecticide soap or oil to finish them off. Some gardeners introduce lady beetles and braconid wasp to their gardens.
Since our milkweed sprouts aren’t very big, and we were worried the blasts of water would cause harm to the plants, we removed the aphids by hand. We are hoping that takes care of things. It took awhile to gently remove and squish them. I even got a little q-tip out to get them off the tiniest leaves, while still trying not to damage the milkweed. We will keep a careful eye on them. Insecticide soap or oil isn’t harmful and doesn’t leave a lasting residue, so if the little guys return they will be doused!