As of Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Summer brings in lush gardens, laden fruit trees and beautiful roses. But it also brings pests, such as aphids. And lots of them.
Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects with long slender mouthparts that they use to pierce stems, leaves, and other tender plant parts and suck out fluids. Almost every plant has one or more aphid species that occasionally feed on it. Many aphid species are difficult to distinguish from one another; however, management of most aphid species is similar.
When the weather is warm, many species of aphids can develop from newborn nymph to reproducing adult in seven to eight days. Because each adult aphid can produce up to 80 offspring in a matter of a week, aphid populations can increase with great speed.
Signs of aphids can be found from other species in the area: large numbers of ants in plants or climbing trees, or their natural enemies such as lady beetles, lacewings or syrphid fly larvae.
So what can you do?
“Regularly check plants, at least twice a week, to catch infestations early,” said Pam Smith, Green Acres Nursery. Check the undersides of leaves, and hose or prune them out.
Go after ants, which protect aphids from natural enemies. Place a band of sticky material around the trunk to prevent ants from climbing up, or put ant stakes or containerized baits on the ground.
“Chemical options can start with a pressured spray of a water-soap solution that provides sufficient control, even on large street trees,” according to Smith. If insecticides are needed, soaps and oils are the best choices for most situations.