+1 for manual pest control. I just snipped these infected leaves off a butterfly flower plant growing in a bucket in the yard. What are these? (besides now ashes)

Insects and ashes on underside of butterfly flower leaves


They are aphids which are easily controlled with soap and water. Three applications of soap and water at five to seven day intervals should do the job. They are quite variable in colour. I have seen green, black and orange ones.
Adults can have wings and this is how they spread to other plants. Ants also farm them so controlling them may help as well.

This is a common garden pest, see here for more details.

  • I've got tons of ants. This is the first year in a long history of gardening that I haven't seen an aphid. I've also been cultivating frogs...
    – stormy
    Jul 25 '14 at 21:46
  • @stormy do frogs control aphids?
    – J. Musser
    Jul 28 '14 at 4:59
  • Well...they eat the flying insects that become the aphids...and sure, they'd eat aphids! But I think the ants figure keeping their herds under ground around here is a better survival tactic.
    – stormy
    Jul 29 '14 at 2:30
  • @stormy most terrestrial frogs can eat eat what they can reach with their tongue. If an aphid is two feet in the air at the top of a tall plant the frog cannot reach it. Predatory wasps and lady bugs are more common predators for aphids in North America
    – kevinskio
    Jul 29 '14 at 10:14
  • I love frogs, and they help out in the garden. I was commenting that I might have a nice harmony going with the ant, frogs. But that was short-lived. It is powdery mildew season, now. Sigh.
    – stormy
    Jul 30 '14 at 5:12

Those are milkweed aphids, Aphis nerii. As kevinsky notes, these can be controlled with soap and water. Below I magnified your image to better view detail, and took a comparison photo from online:

Your aphids:

enter image description here

Someone else's aphids:


These look like some kind of aphids to me. It wouldn't hurt to check other nearby plants for these, especially if there are also ants (sometimes ants protect and 'farm' them).


One part rubbing alcohol combined with two parts water in a small spray bottle is nearly instant death to all aphids. Use it all the time.

  • can you add more details such as how often you apply the spray? Also, does it kill the aphids or makes them go elsewhere?
    – JStorage
    Jul 3 '17 at 19:45

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