PLANT PESTS:

Water plants are more vulnerable to pests than to disease.  Pests are common on all plants, and in the surrounding garden it is quite common to reach for the chemical sprays.  However, water plant pests must be treated in the most natural way possible to avoid water contamination, and a detrimental impact on fish and other pond life.

In most cases, pests can be forcibly sprayed from foliage where they are readily eaten by pond fish.  Some other forms of control include removing leaves, removing plants, or submerging plants to drown the pests.

The most common pests are water lily aphids, and leaf-mining midges.

Aphids:  During hot and dry spells in the summer, the leaves, stems and flowers of particular aquatics may become infested with aphids (resembling poppy seeds).  Large attacks often result in deformed flowers, buds and leaves, and occasionally in the death of a plant.

It has been suggested that infestations may be reduced, or even prevented by constant pruning of yellowing, aging and damaged foliage.

False Leaf-Mining Midge:  Occasionally, in the early evening, swarms of tiny gnat-like insects may be seen flying around the surface of the pond.  It is very likely that these are midges laying eggs on the water.

The false leaf-mining midge is quite a common pest of water lilies.  Tiny larvae eat meandering channels through the surface of floating lily leaves.  These trails turn brown and rot through the leaves, resulting in unsightly, tattered foliage.

Light infestations can be reduced by spraying jets of water onto the leaves.  This knocks the midges into the water for fish to eat.  Another method often used involves hand picking the larvae from the leaves, or removing the affected leaves altogether.

 

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