Aphids compromise the health of plants more than any other class of insects. These small but destructive pests feed on the sap of plants and thrive just about anywhere worldwide. Aphids breed rapidly and won’t stop feeding until they kill the plant or tree.
Almost no plant is safe from aphids, and knowing how to spot an infestation helps you protect your trees from severe damage. In this post, Florida’s reliable tree service, Brothers in Arms Tree Service, discusses how to identify and eliminate aphids on trees.
What Are Aphids?
Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects with long antennae and pear-shaped bodies. These insects have long slender mouthparts that they use to pierce leaves, stems, and other tender plant material to suck out nutrient-rich fluids.
They vary in color depending on the species and plant they feed on, from green and yellow to white, pink, or brown.
Signs of an Aphid Infestation
Aphid infestations start small but multiply quickly if left unchecked. Typical signs of an aphid infestation include:
Weakened or Disfigured Plants
An aphid infestation may cause leaves to twist, curl, or turn yellow. If you can’t see any signs of plant damage yet the plant looks weak, check the undersides of leaves for signs of an infestation.
Some aphid species create abnormal swelling of plant tissues on stems, leaves, and roots.
Honeydew on Foliage
When aphids feed on tree sap, they produce a sticky substance (honeydew) as waste. Sometimes the honeydew turns into a sooty mold, causing leaves and branches to appear black.
How To Get Rid of Aphids
Fortunately, removing aphids on trees isn’t difficult, but you need to act fast at the first sign of a problem.
Growing Aphid Repellants
Growing natural aphid repellants like garlic, onion, chives, and catnip around your trees can help prevent an aphid infestation.
If you have a small infestation, gloves and a garbage bag will come in handy for removing aphids by hand.
Spraying With Water
If hand removal seems tedious or time consuming, consider using a hose. Set the water pressure just enough to remove the pests without damaging the plant. Hose the trees regularly to maintain control of aphids.
Spraying With a Soap and Water Mixture
A soap and water mixture should work well to remove aphids from a single plant that has an infestation. Use insecticidal soaps to avoid plant damage or neem oil as a preventive option.
Consider alternating these products for effectiveness and to avoid resistance when targeting the egg stage or other stages of the aphid’s cycle.
This biological control method requires you to introduce beneficial bugs to your garden. Natural aphid predators include ladybugs, hoverflies, and green lacewings.
Contact Your Local Tree Experts for Help
If you need professional tree services, look no further than Brothers in Arms Tree Service. We offer a wide range of services, including:
- Tree trimming
- Tree removals
- Emergency tree service