What Are Aphids?
Aphids are small insects with a soft body that feed on plants and trees. They use their long, thin mouths to pierce through leaves, stems, and shoots and suck out the plant fluids.
The distinguishing characteristics of aphids include long legs, antennae, and a pear-like shape. Most aphids also have a tube-like structure (“cornicle”) protruding from their rear. They can be green, yellow, red, brown, or black in colour. Some aphids have a waxy or woolly appearance. Most of the time, aphids will feed on plants in large groups.
Aphids can attack vegetable and fruit tree crops. In large numbers, they cause leaves to turn yellow and/or and stunt new growth. Some aphids cause leaves to curl, hampering growth. Other species can cause leaves to become swollen with gall formations (unsightly, abnormal growths). A few species will attack the roots of vegetable crops (e.g. lettuce and carrots) and the roots of apple trees.
Aphids also leave behind a sweet and sticky substance called “honeydew” when they feed on plants and trees. This sticky substance can accumulate on the plant and lead to spotty mould fungus growth. The honeydew can drip from plants and trees, damaging outdoor furniture, decorations, and vehicles. It can also attract other pests (such as ants) who feed off the honeydew.
How To Eliminate Aphids
There are many different ways to control and eliminate aphids. One way is through biological control. This involves using natural predators such as ladybugs and green lacewings to naturally control the population of aphids.
For infestations (or where major damage is already occurring) it may be best to use a chemical approach. This can involve the application of horticultural or plant-based oils that are generally safe and non-toxic. They kill the aphids by smothering them. The application of insecticidal soap is another gentle, yet effective, way of controlling aphid populations.
Mr. Pest can help you identify, prevent, and address aphid problems in your garden or lawn in Southern Ontario. Our experts can treat your plants and trees with environmentally-friendly applications that will not harm pets or children. Call us at 1-888-794-7378 if you have problems with aphids or ants. We offer award-winning pest control services and will leave your garden and lawn pest-free.