Aphids are a common pest an a wide variety of fruit trees, shrubs, vines, vegetables, and more!
Leaves curled end to end are the most common sign of aphid damage.
Ants in your tree are another sure sign of aphid infestation, as their only interest in climbing trees is to harvest honeydew (sweet aphid droppings). The one exception is fig trees, where they can sometimes also feed on overripe fruit.
Aphids are tiny insects that suck sap from leaves, causing plant stress than can result in curled and distorted leaves, flowers, and fruit. They can also sometimes spread viruses and their honeydew droppings can lead to sooty mold on leaves. Aphids come in many colors: green, black, gray, pink, yellow, some even a fluffy white. Minor infestations often go away without any extra effort, but more severe cases may require management. Aphids affect many vegetables and ornamental plants as well as fruit trees.
Aphids are tiny insects that come in many colors.
Spray Water. A strong stream of water can knock aphids off leaves and greatly reduce their populations. Be sure to hit the bottom of the leaves, as that’s where most are found. As always, avoid wetting leaves during the heat of day.
Beneficial Insects. Plant a pollinator garden to attract a variety of native predators and parasites to keep aphids and other pest insects populations under control. For bad infestations, you might also consider releasing purchased insects like lacewings, aphid midges, parasitic wasps, or ladybugs. Read our article on insect releases here:
Dormant Oil. If you have a lot of aphid problems this season, consider spraying a dormant oil on your trees in late winter of next year. This is the most effective means of smothering overwintering eggs and thus reducing pest populations for the next growing season. Read our article on dormant oil here:
This blog post prepared by POP Executive Director Phil Forsyth.
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