Various aphid species are pests of pansies. Aphids are
soft-bodied insects that range in color from tan to pink to green to almost
black and in size from 1/16 to ?-inch. They feed by piercing plant
tissue and sucking plant sap. On pansies, they feed mainly on new leaves and
stems. As they feed, they excrete honeydew (a sugary material). The sooty mold
fungus feeds on the honeydew, resulting in unsightly, dark fungal growth.
Several natural enemies, such as
ladybird beetles (ladybugs) and lacewings feed on aphids. As much as possible,
these predators should be allowed to reduce aphid populations. Planting
small-flowered nectar plants, such as Queen Anne`s lace (Daucuscarota)
will help attract these beneficial predators.
As a result of their phenomenal ability to repro-duce, aphids
are very difficult to control with insecticides. Leaving one aphid alive can
result in the production of a new colony very quickly. In addition, the use of
insecticides kills the beneficial insects that normally keep aphid populations
under control. However, if natural predators do not reduce aphid populations
sufficiently, the following insecticides are recommended: insecticidal soap,
cyfluthrin, permethrin, bifenthrin, lambda cyhalothrin, malathion or acephate.