When Aphids Attack

“The flowers have withered and are unrecognizable. They look crispy and dead.”

This is what happens when aphids attack your plants. Within a matter of hours, even days, only a shriveled remain is left of your plants.

With word that aphids had infested a community garden plant, I sprang into action. By the next day, I had prepared all that I would need to face the alien bug invasion. Armed only with soapy water, a spray bottle, and a sense of community pride, I knew what I had to do.


With a thunderstorm lurking on the horizon, I set out. Rain began to fall as I approached the new garden at the triangular corner of Kinnickinnic, Lincoln and Howell Avenues. Looking left, then right, I saw plants. Lots of them. Many with flowers.

They looked all right.


I made a phone call. Just then, lightening flashed, and my cell phone FAILED. Determined, refusing to be put down by the Man or Mother Nature, I tried again.

The phone rang.


I learned that the red, life-sucking aphids were in fact not at the KK Triangle, but at the Village Roots Garden.

That meant the unthinkable: what had been a vacant lot and was now home to a robust community garden was now under attack — by aphids.


Distracted by the rain and lightning, I searched in vain. No aphids on any of the plants so far. But then I remembered those haunting words:

“The flowers have withered and are unrecognizable. They look crispy and dead.”

Crispy. And dead.

Could it be? The treasured Rudbekias were under attack. They were on the eastern most planting bed, waiting out their last days beneath an unassuming plum tree — waiting for the aphids to suck the very life from them.

Without saying a word, I raised the spray bottle.

A soapy vengeance was delivered.

Update: The aphids have returned, hungrier than ever, striking at previously unmolested Rudbekias. Fortunately, they are still vulnerable to water and dish soap. We’ll see if this holds them back — or rids us of them for good.