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Insecticidal Soap

(May 2008)

QuestionEach year I have tiny, black pests on the leaves of vegetables in my garden. They cause damage to my plants and are difficult and expensive to try to control. They are so tiny, they are almost invisible to the naked eye. You almost need a magnifying glass. I can only see them if I cut off some leaves and shake the leaves on a piece of white paper. Then I can see the tiny black dots move around. What are they and how do I control them?


AnswerThe most common insect in the garden is aphids. They can range in color from black, red, green or yellow. They are small and tend to congregate near new growth or in the joints of leaves. Flea beetles are also small, but tend to jump with vigor when disturbed. Spider mites are really tiny but tend to be reddish in color. If aphids are the culprit, they can be controlled with a strong spray of water, insecticidal soap or Malathion. Be sure to follow label directions as to timing and harvesting. For a definitive diagnosis of the insect, take some into your local county extension office.

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