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I have a couple of guava trees that are starting to flower and while noting the flowers today I saw a number of very small, black bugs hanging out on some of the leaves and stems. They look like baby flies.

I noticed there are a few leaves that have been nibbled on by insects, but overall the tree is very healthy. Are these little guys responsible? If so, what steps can I take to reduce if not eradicate them?

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Kind of hard to tell from the photo, but the constellation of them makes me think aphids.

Aphids reproduce very quickly, by live birth and eggs, and are very difficult to eliminate, but pretty manageable...

I don't know where you live and what you local fauna is like, but ladybugs are the natural predator of the aphid, these can be purchased commercially in some places. You can also spray with normal soapy water, incecticidal soap, neem oil or pesticides in order of inceasing effecacy.

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Since ladybugs can fly away, how do I introduce them so they stay? There are many ladybugs on the corn I am growing in my garden, which is about 25 feet away. Will the ladybugs migrate to the guava tree naturally or do I need to try to carry a few over? – Scott Mitchell Jun 9 '12 at 16:26

They're fruit flies not aphids. I have the same problem with my guava tree.

Use a safe pesticide often.

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Do you have an any specific recommendations for a "safe pesticide"? – bstpierre Oct 5 '12 at 23:49

I agree with Grady Player - almost certainly aphids.

To help control the aphids, as well as soapy water, various oraganic spray and pesticides, some people recommend knocking them off with streams of water from a hose, or brush them off and/or squashing them by hand if there aren't too many.

Re: the ladybirds - I don't think you can force the ladybirds to stay, but if there is a good food source they probably have no reason to leave. They may not have migrated from the corn because they are happy over there, so you could carry some over to encourage them.

You SHOULD try to control them as they can overwhelm the plant, and they especially like the nice new shoots, so they can prevent growth. They can also spread disease. (I hate aphids, :|)

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