This year was mostly a great growing season for our garden. We got lots of beans, squash, tomatoes, and other goodies.
However, this year was also the year of aphids.
At left is a blossom on a red oleandar that I planted a few weeks before that photo was taken.
The ants are farming the aphids. That is, they herd and protect the aphids. In return, the aphids suck the plant’s sap and the ants carry off the waste product — the aphid poop — to store away in their nest for future feasting.
Two species acting symbiotically to irritate the hell out of me.
If this were the only infestation of this kind, I would be concerned that I had chosen a location for the plant that was sub-optimal and, thus, led to weakness that made the plant susceptible to such an attack.
But, not in this case. This is not the only massive infestation of aphids that I have seen this year!
The community garden was also plagued with aphids. And by plagued, I mean plagued.
This is a closeup of the blossom of a long bean plant. At a distance, the vine looked black because the aphids were this thick over the entire plant.
If you look closely at that photo, there are a handful of parasitic bugs attacking the aphids. Unfortunately, nowhere near enough to quell the infestation. The only solution was to remove the plant in its entirety.
Oddly, they only attacked some of the bean plants. No idea what made one plant more attractive than the next, given that the beans were in the same soil and climbing the same trellis.