Aphids and Trees

aphid infestationThere are more than 400 varieties of aphids that can be a threat to your trees and other plants. Aphids, though small, attack in swarms using their probosces to draw moisture from the leaves of your trees. If left unchecked they can destroy your tree.

What they look like
Aphids are very small, under a quarter of an inch long. They come in many colors, including green, yellow, brown, black, gray, yellow, and pink. They might have smooth are woolly looking bodies, but they are always a pear shape. Though sometimes difficult to see with the naked eye, you can usually quickly identify aphids by these physical markers.

Where to look for them
If you see what looks like sap dripping from leaves you probably have an infestation. That sticky substance is called honeydew, and aphids excrete it when they feed. If the honeydew is coating the branches or leaves, it most likely means that the infestation is substantial. You can also look for misshapen and discolored leaves, fruit, and flowers. If you see evidence of an infestation, look under leaves, a favorite hiding spot for aphids, to see if you can spot them

Why they are dangerous
Aphids don’t just attack a few at a time, they attack in swarms, overwhelming a tree or plant until they have killed it and must move on. Though fairly slow moving, they can prove to be a substantial threat to your landscaping. They also tend to attract ants, which feed on honeydew in a symbiotic relationship with aphids. Ants themselves can be a nuisance, but they also protect the aphids against their natural predators.

How to get rid of them
Though annoying, aphids are not that difficult to control. You can clean them from branches and leaves with something as simple as a spray hose. Other options include using cayenne pepper or dish soap to create a solution that wards the pests away. You can attack the ant population, or a have a professional do it for you, and remove their natural protectors. Aphids have numerous natural predators that can help to control the population once the ants are gone.

If these solutions do not work for you, or you are worried the aphids are doing too much damage, give us a call and we’ll handle the situation for you. We’d love to help!