Pest Control for Aphids – Plant Lice

Pea aphid and her nymphs.

Pea aphid and her nymphs.

Aphids are landscape pests that cause leaves to discolor, wilt, and turn a yellow-brown. Not only to these soft-bodied insects make your plants look unsightly, they also attract other pests – ants, wasps, bees (although bees are not considered pests unless you are allergic and/or there is a hive inside or very near your home).
Sooty mold caused by honeydew from aphids.

Sooty mold caused by honeydew from aphids.

Aphids, also referred to as “plant lice,” can be red, wooly white, brown or black but most common are green. Aphid damage to ornamental plants is two-fold; they feed on the plant sap, which distorts leaves, then the honeydew aphids emit leads to a fungus called “sooty mold.” Hearts Pest Management is certified in landscape pest control and green solutions. We can treat aphids with organic products! It’s not just plants that aphids feed on; tree leaves may also be infested with aphids. If you’ve noticed spots on the window and paint of your car, it could be the honeydew from an overhead tree.

Sweet Honeydew

Ant receiving honeydew from an aphid.

Ant receiving honeydew from an aphid.

What is honeydew and why does it attract other insects? Honeydew is a sugary liquid loved by ants and bees and wasps. Aphids emit this sweet liquid from their behinds. If you’ve noticed ants on your plants, turn a leaf over and you’ll probably see a cluster of aphids. Ants actually “farm” aphids for their sweet honeydew by corralling them onto the underside of leaves where predators can’t see them. This is a sure way for ants to have a stable and continuous food source.
We provide free landscape inspections!
Ants “farming” aphids under a leaf.

Ants “farming” aphids under a leaf.

Beneficial garden insects, lacewings, ladybugs, and honeybees may appear in greater numbers on plants with aphid activity. That’s a good thing because these insects feed on aphids; but unfortunately, the reproductive capability of aphids is greater than the impact these beneficial insects can have in your garden landscape.

Aphids’ Natural Enemies

Cartoon of a green lacewing

Lacewings are natural predators of aphids.

Hearts offers free landscape inspections for aphids and other garden pests.

Hearts offers free landscape inspections for aphids and other garden pests.

Besides ladybugs and lacewings, insect-eating birds feed on aphids as well. Another predator of aphids, the parasitoid or parasitic wasp, takes predating a step further; this tiny wasp will lay her eggs inside an aphid where they develop until mature. The process weakens the aphid, basically, turning it into a mummy. Agriculturalists utilize parasitoid wasps for protection against aphids on large crops.

Aphid Control

Hearts Pest Management provides pest control for aphids. We can even treat with organics. A monthly landscape maintenance plan is recommended for landscape pests utilizing our “Green” program. But first, we provide a landscape inspection, free-of-charge. Your service professional will examine the trees and
Parasitic wasp and aphids on rose.

Parasitic wasp and aphids on rose.

plants and make appropriate recommendations, explaining how and what we will use to treat for and get your landscape pests under control. Early detection is the key. Especially for new plants; excessive sap removal by aphids can affect the health of the plant. Established plants can tolerate aphids a bit more but the leaves will still wilt and turn yellow-brown.
aphids on leaf

Aphids cause discoloration of leaves.

Left alone, aphids feeding on flower buds and fruit will cause them to become malformed, leaves will turn yellow-brown, curl and twist then fall prematurely. Sooty mold may develop on leaves as well. Colonization of aphids will spread to other plants and trees. This is done as a result of small numbers of winged aphids that fly to the plant they perceive to be a suitable host. Females can create 40 to 60 offspring, maturing in 7 to 10 days. Most of the offspring are female, therefore, more and more aphids are produced. Some aphids are carriers of plant viruses. When they probe a plant with their mouth parts, the plant becomes infected, causing stunted growth and eventually die. For more information on aphid pest control, call us today for a free inspection and let us help you take back your landscape!

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