With the temperature expected to reach 30 degrees today, Steinbach city crews were seen removing some of the hanging flower baskets.

Steinbach has yet to receive frost this month, and there is no threat in the near future. Yet, many flowers throughout the city have seen better days. Landscape Technician Joyce Purchase says that is because of an infestation of aphids.

Purchase says Steinbach has between 350 and 400 flower baskets hanging throughout the city. She guesses about 50 per cent of them were hit with aphids and the worst 30 of them were removed this morning.

"It is disappointing because the baskets were so beautiful and there's only so much we can do and the season is coming to an end," says Purchase.

According to Purchase, crews attempted to treat the flowers on three separate occasions. But, that does not seem to be working and Purchase says they will not be treating again.

"We'll just let nature take its course," notes Purchase.

Purchase says she has a theory on what caused this year's infestation, but because it has not be proven, she is less than interested in sharing those thoughts. For whatever reason, flowers along Highway 12 were worse than Main Street and it started in baskets with red flowers. The aphids were not contained to the baskets but also spread to flowers planted in boulevards.

Purchase says this is the worst the aphids have been in a long time.

"We had zero problems last year," she says. "We do sometimes have issues with spider mites but this year it was aphids and we just can't stay on top of the treating."

Realistically, the baskets are probably only being removed only slightly premature. Purchase says in a few short weeks, once the flowers die from the changing seasons, crews will take down those baskets as well. She admits, putting them up in spring is more enjoyable than removing them in fall.

"The season is just starting in spring and there's hope and you look forward to a good growing season," she says. "This time of year is always a little sad but there's a time for everything."

And when asked if she has ever considered tossing sheets and blankets on all the city's flowers on that first night of frost, Purchase joked, "sure I think about that all the time. If you have any ideas how to do that please share that information."