Aphids: A common pest
One of the most common pests seen attacking our landscape plants and gardens are Aphids. What are they? And what you need to know…
Aphids are very small circular insects that can be seen in a wide range of colors as there are hundreds of different species. They are often found in large groups, close together on the underside of plant leaves. Aphids feed by injecting a needle like prong into the plant and sucking the sap out of the wood. They will feed on roots, stems, leaves, or fruit. If a plant is under attack by aphids you will often see curled leaves, stunted growth, and browning of plants. An untreated infestation of aphids on a plant can result in plant death.
On some plants such as Crape Myrtles, aphids can be identified by the appearance of a black sooty mold on the bark. Aphids excrete honeydew on the plant as they are feeding on the sap. The excretion left behind will attract fungi and appear as a black mold on the plant. This sooty mold usually doesn’t harm the plant itself but is very unsightly. Aphids can also develop wings and fly from plant to plant infesting an area more quickly. The most destruction done by aphids is the spread of virus and disease. Aphids can transmit disease from plant to plant when entering the plant to feed.
Horticultural oil is used to suffocate aphids and is a great control of both existing problems and potential problems. Turf Club’s Tree and Shrub Program sprays horticultural oil in early spring and late fall to suffocate any existing eggs or aphid infestations. This pest is rarely seen and easily controlled on treated properties. Insecticides can be used to kill existing populations as well.
Homeowner Tip for controlling aphids:
Spraying the leaves of infected plants with a hard stream of cold water can knock the aphids off the plant. You can also get rid of aphids in your garden by creating a spray mixture of water and a few drops of dish soap. Spray the entire plant with the solution daily until aphids have disappeared.
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