1) I knew last year there were aphids in parts of the plum tree.
2). Our plum tree is swarming with bees this year, and it’s done blooming. They land on a leaf, walk around a bit, then go to a new leaf.
I couldn’t figure it out- bees don’t eat aphids, and these are definitely honey bees. My research finally came yesterday to honeydew. Aphids eat by piercing the veins of leaves and sucking out the sap. It’s mostly water, so they need to drink quite a bit to get the nutrients they need, and the excess is excreted as honeydew. It’s quite sweet, and shows up as shiny patches on the leaves. Bees love honeydew! The only issue is that it can be harmful to them if the tree sap contains neurotoxins, which are concentrated in the honeydew. The only tree I could find mention of was the lime tree, so hopefully this isn’t dangerous to our bees.
I pulled off a leaf yesterday, to see if I cold find any aphids (the branches are pretty high up), and gasped at what I saw.
Aphids cause leaf curl, and can inject parasites into trees when they pierce.
I was thinking live and let live, and wait for nature to take its course. Surely the ladybugs or parasitic wasps would come soon to this burgeoning food source? Now I’m going to spray tomorrow with my homemade spray (1 tsp peppermint Castile soap to 1 cup water.). But I’m still a little torn- this is a great food source for the bees. There are MORE bees on the rhodie, though, so I’ll just plant some extra flowers this year!