Aphids: An Earth-Wise Guide

APHID magnified


Tiny (1/16-1/8″) insect with soft body,  long legs and antennae; corniclesor “tailpipes” on tip of abdomen;  250 species; reproduce quickly; attack new growth or underside of leaf


Suck sap from plants and excrete a clear, sticky “honeydew” that often grows black, sooty fungus that blocks sunlight from leaves; feeding can stunt growth, deform and discolor leaves, or cause them to drop prematurely; usually attacks new growth; some aphids transmit plant diseases


  • Bedding plants

  • Crape myrtles

  • Hibiscus

  • Oaks

  • Oleanders

  • Pecans

  • Roses

  • Vegetables

They can help you figure it out…
Need help diagnosing a plant problem?
Call the Texas Agrilife Extension Service @  854-9600 and ask for the master gardener desk or email them at travismg@ag.tamu.edu

Least-Toxic Solutions

  • Monitor often for early detection and to determine if control is needed; natural predators may make treatment unnecessary

  • For minor infestations, spray host plants with water at high pressure to dislodge aphids

  • Introduce ladybugs or lacewings and other beneficial insects to your landscape after infestation has been identified – for best results follow release instructions carefully; best to release in an enclosed area

  • Use sticky barriers to prevent ants from tending aphids and protecting them from natural predators

  • Help control aphids with insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils

  • Use a row cover to physically keep the aphids off vegetable crops while allowing air, light and water exchange

  • Use natural or slow-release fertilizer to avoid excessive new growth

  • Most aphids are host-plant specific and usually don’t move to other species

If You Must Use a Pesticide…

  • Avoid systemic pesticides on vegetables and edible plants. Systemic pesticidesare taken up by the plant and make its tissues and fluids toxic to foliage- feeding insects

  • Non-systemic pesticides must be applied to all infested plant surfaces forbest results, because they must come into direct contact with the insects

  • Avoid applying broad spectrum pesticides -they destroy beneficial insects as well as pests and leave trees or shrubs unprotected if pests return

  • Apply only to plants specified on the label -some formulations injure tender ornamental plants and new growth

  • Mix according to directions and apply only recommended dosage

  • Several pesticide applications may be needed for control at 7-10 day intervals, or as instructed by the product label

  • Avoid overuse of chemicals – many pests have become resistant to certain pesticides

APHIDS and associated sooty mold




Content and copyright permission generously granted by:
Austin Grow Green: www.growgreen.orgwho works in close association with:
Texas AgriLife Extension Service:  http://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu   
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This post was written by Marjory

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