Aphids: How to Identify, Control, and Eradicate Them
Also known as plant lice, aphids come from the Aphidoidea insect family and includes a variety of species. There are more than 4,000 kinds, and approximately 200 of them are destructive to plants.
They also come in a wide array of colors – some are black, green, white, reddish-brown, and gray. They feed on many plants, and in severe infestations, the plant fails to thrive.
Aphids are small-soft bodied pests that pierce through the plant stems and suck out their nutrient-rich sap. They normally carry viruses as they feed and secrete “honeydew” in the process, creating a conducive environment for molds.
Signs of an infestation
With their beak-like mouths, aphids suck the sap from the plant’s tender leaves and shoot. The damage they create is two-fold: sucking the sap will weaken the plant and injecting its saliva will spread viruses to other plants – a lot of which are incurable. The “honeydew” that they secrete becomes infested with black sooty mold.
One of the signs of a big aphid infestation is the presence of ants on your plants. Ants love sweet food, so it is very likely that aphids are present on your plants when you see a lot of ants on them.
Watch out for these other signs:
• Yellowing, curling, stunted, or misshapen leaves.
• If the stems and leaves are covered with sticky honeydew.
• The sooty mold will cause the branches and leaves to appear black.
• An aphid infestation will also attract ladybugs.
• Fruits or flowers can become deformed or distorted.
An aphid infestation can be reduced naturally through heat, heavy rain, and high wind. Occasionally, all that aphids need is a blast of cold water to dislodge them.
If there is a huge infestation, insecticides may be needed. Aphids can easily be eradicated by standard pesticides. However, it’s best to use non-chemical ways to manage aphids, since a lot of chemical sprays will destroy the beneficial insects along with the pests. You may use a homemade garlic spray or tomato leaf spray to control aphids, but you would need to reapply once you notice the infestation reappears.
Get in touch with your Dallas landscaping company, most especially if you are dealing with huge infestations.