Disgusting aphids are a severe problem that can destroy your landscape. During an infestation, what appears to be a black tar on your foliage is actually a fungus growing in aphid excrement. The more of this you see, the bigger your problem is.
Aphids can cause the eventual death of your plants and trees, both indoors and outdoors. Upon detection of an infestation, treatment should begin immediately, and only end when all signs of the pest are gone.
In this article, 72tree.com answers some common aphid questions, and offers three easy methods to control them.
Getting rid of your aphid problem starts with observing how big of a problem you have, determining which actions to take, and following up to ensure the problem is over.
Observation – In many aphid infestations, you may notice the presence of ants. These ants are not attacking the aphids, they are cultivating the honeydew excrement which they produce.
If this is the case, locate the ant trail(s) and treat the ant problem simultaneously with the aphid problem. You will see below that these three treatments work well for both insects.
Action – The following are 3 simple solutions that eliminate aphids without the use of commercial insecticides.
1 – Insecticidal Soap – The ingredients are:
• Liquid dishwashing soap (Dawn, Ivory, etc. but not the special formula varieties)
• Vegetable oil (corn, canola, sunflower, etc.)
• Warm water (filtered or soft water)
Step 1 – Mix 1/2 cup of vegetable oil with 3 Tbsp of dishwashing soap in a measuring cup and mix well.
Step 2 – Pour the mix into an empty (clean) gallon container and fill it halfway with warm water.
Step 3 – Shake the mixture well and fill a spray bottle with it. Keep the remainder of the mixture in a cool, dry place until the next use.
Application – In the early morning or late afternoon, spray the mixture directly on the aphids and ants (if present), you will also spray the area around the infestation, and along the ant trails.
Apply the mixture weekly in the same way for three weeks, or until the pests are eliminated.
2 – Neem Oil – Neem oil is a pungent vegetable oil derived from the fruit and seeds of an evergreen tree called Neem.
Pure Neem oil can be purchased at your local gardening center and comes ready for use.
Application – Again, in the early morning or late afternoon, spray the oil directly on the aphids and surrounding areas.
When sprayed along ant trails, Neem oil is very effective in repelling many species of ants. This is accomplished by disrupting the pheromone trails ants leave for others to follow.
Apply on a weekly basis until the ants and aphids are no longer visible.
3 – Vinegar Spray – The ingredients are:
• Vinegar (white or apple cider)
Step 1 – Mix equal parts of vinegar and water together in a spray bottle.
Application – In the early morning or late afternoon, spray the water and vinegar mixture directly on the infestation and surrounding area.
When sprayed in the affected area and along the ant trail, this solution works well to repel the ants and disrupt their pheromone trail.
Apply weekly until the infestation has been eliminated.
For treating other insect infestations, visit this link https://www.72tree.com/using-dormant-horticultural-oil-treat-tree-insect-infestations/
Q: Why Do You Apply Insecticides in the Morning?
A: Insecticides and insect deterrents are applied in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid overheating the foliage in direct sunlight.
Q: How Long is the Life of an Aphid?
A: Depending on the species and environment, aphids live from one week to forty days.
Q: How Long Do Aphid Infestations Last?
A: As aphids are able to reproduce rapidly, infestations can occur relatively quickly and may last until the death of the host (without treatment).
Q: What Insects Eat Aphids?
A: The most beneficial predatory insect of aphids is the ladybug. Plant marigolds, sunflowers, dill, and daisies to attract ladybugs, lacewings, and other beneficial insects. Also, consider buying and releasing ladybugs directly into your garden.
Q: Do Ants Eat Aphids?
A: No – Ants cultivate and eat aphid excrement (called honeydew) which is produced after the aphids consume the sap from plant and tree foliage.
Q: What Is the Black Film All Over the Leaves?
A: During an aphid infestation, the black tar-like substance on the foliage is actually a fungus known as “sooty mold” growing in the honeydew (aphid excrement).
With the ability to quickly multiply and infest your landscape, aphids can cause the decline and eventual death of your plants and trees.
In this article, we’ve answered common “aphid” questions, you’ve learned to identify an aphid infestation and take action. You now know how to use three effective control methods and how to attract beneficial insects to your landscape.
By not taking action against an aphid infestation, you are leaving your plants and trees vulnerable to other insect infestations and disease which can kill them even faster.