Houseplants are susceptible to attack by various pests and diseases. While rarely lethal, pest and disease outbreaks can compromise the aesthetic quality of indoor vegetation. Even tightly sealed houses and conscientious tending cannot always prevent attacks on our houseplants.
It is not uncommon to also bring in some insects or spiders that were on the tree while it was growing outdoors. Fortunately, these “accidental invader” insect and spider pests are harmless.
Many gardeners strive to grow beautiful, insect-free plants, but as an insect lover, my favorite plants are the ones that always get pest insects. One favorite in my yard is a yellow daisy that becomes infested annually with beautiful red-colored aphids. For good insect viewing it is hard to beat the aphids. Aphids come in a variety of sizes and colors but most have a soft, pear-shaped body up to one-eighth inch long. Common aphid species come in all shades of green as well as black, pink, yellow and the already-mentioned bright red. The one distinguishing characteristic present on all aphids is not always easy to see, but it is there: each aphid has a pair of tubes on the top side of the back end of the abdomen. The tubes are called cornicles and are used to secrete wax and other substances.
There are both wingless and winged forms, according to Matt O’Neal, assistant professor, Entomology. He says wingless soybean aphid adults are about 1⁄16 inch in length, pale yellow or green, and have dark-tipped cornicles (tail pipes) near the end of the abdomen. The winged form has a shiny black head and thorax with a dark green abdomen and black cornicles.