The tiny Oleander Aphid is a huge pest for ornamental flowers thanks to fast breeding and fast development.
The first sighting of a yellow-orange cluster of Oleander Aphids puts the gardener on the defensive. They feed on the plant juices of oleander, milkweed, butterfly weed and wax plants, all popular ornamental plants in homes and gardens. Quick to reproduce during their short lives, Oleander Aphids need little time to infest a plant.
Oleanders are a popular ornamental flowering plant in southeastern states, like Florida. Plant nurseries can lose product and profit because of an infestation. The aphid's presence ruins the beauty of the oleander because it creates a sticky 'honeydew' on the stems, which can eventually turn black with mold. Oleander Aphids use their mouthparts to poke into the plant stem and then syphon food juices, damaging the plant's health. The ends of the branches can deform and and wilt. Other plants near infested ones are also at risk. The aphids can spread a plant virus, further impacting nurseries or gardens. Natural predators of the Oleander Aphid include certain kinds of parasitic wasps, Lady Beetles, Lacewings and Hoverflies. Insecticide use to control aphid infestations is effective, but care must be taken in choosing one that will not also harm beneficial insect predators.
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.