If you’d like to know how to get rid of woolly aphids, then keep reading!
Woolly aphids can be quite a nuisance to your garden plants. They gather in large numbers and they suck the nutritious sap away from your plants, leaving them looking unhealthy.
If they occur in very large numbers, then their feeding habits will eventually kill your plants.
About Woolly Aphids
These insect pests are among over 4,000 species of aphids. They are pretty tiny and they form clusters around the stems and branches of your plants.
They feed off the sap from your crops and can cause quite some damage. They are called woolly aphids because of their whitish color and their clustering habits.
How To Tell If You Have A Woolly Aphid Infestation
Several signs will inform you that your plants are under attack by woolly aphids. They are listed below
Discoloration Of Leaves
As the aphids suck the sap from your plants, they take the much-needed nutrients along. This will cause the plant to be malnourished and you can tell by the discolored leaves.
The more the aphids suck up the sap over time, the leaves will begin to twist and turn yellow.
Similar to other species of aphids, these pests leave honeydew behind. If you find this sticky substance around your trees, then you can blame them.
Honeydew can also attract a variety of insect pests, so a sudden influx of them could also be a pointer that your plants are under attack by woolly aphids.
Growths On Plants
Woolly aphid activity can cause growths known as gall and canker on your plants. Keep an eye out for such growths.
If you come across any, then you’ll know you have these pests around.
Wool-Like Clusters On Your Plants
When you notice white clusters around the stems and branches of your plants, then they are most likely woolly aphids.
They usually stay still when they are clustered so you may mistake them for something else. To be sure, you can pick up a stick and tap on the side of the branch or stem they are lodged on. If you see any movement among them, then your suspicions have been confirmed.
How To Get Rid Of Woolly Aphids Completely
Woolly Aphid can cause a great deal of damage to your garden plants, so immediate action has to be taken against them.
Below, I will provide some tips on how you can get rid of them.
Cut Off Infested Branches
Luckily, woolly aphids don’t cover up a whole plant at once, they move from branch to branch over time, as long as there is sap to be sucked.
If you find any infected branches that have been severely affected by the aphid activity, you can simply prune them off and properly dispose of them.
Go around each plant and observe to see if there are any clusters of woolly aphids on the branches of your plants. Prune them off accordingly and properly dispose of them.
The ideal disposal method would be to burn the affected branches, as the fire will kill any aphids still hanging on to the branches after they have been pruned off.
Gather all the branches you prune into a pile and take them to an area of your yard that is safe for burning.
Make sure you have adequate knowledge of the laws regarding lighting fires in your state. Also, adhere to all safety measures before you burn the affected branches and inform your neighbors of your plans to light a fire.
Cutting off aphid-infested branches should only be done if the damage caused by the aphids has become irreparable. If the infested branches are not yet dead, then you can employ other measures to get rid of the aphids.
Blast Them Away
As I just mentioned, if the infested branches are not yet dead or decayed, then you can still save them via other means. One such means is blasting the aphids away using a hose and high flowing water.
After identifying the affected branches, connect your garden hose to a source of high flowing water and move from plant to plant.
Woolly Aphids occur in clusters so they won’t be hard to find. Although they can lodge under the leaves so you may not see them. For this reason, you need to do a thorough hosing of the plants.
Blast around the top of the leaves as well as beneath it. Also, blast around the stems and branches to dislodge them from your plants.
This is a safe and effective method of ridding your plants of woolly aphids, although it is not a permanent solution. This is because the water from the blast only dislodges them, but it won’t kill them.
Over time, they will climb back up the plants and continue from where they stopped.
Reduce Soil Nitrogen
When you keep the nutrients in the soil balanced, there will be a lower chance of having an aphid population in your garden.
Be sure not to apply too much nitrogen fertilizers to your garden soil. Excessive Nitrogen attracts woolly aphids and a high level of it on your garden soil would only be an invitation for them to invade.
It is advisable to use natural organic fertilizers to boost soil quality and plant growth. Such natural fertilizers include decomposed manure, fish emulsion, liquid seaweed, and other natural organic material that penetrate the soil slowly.
Doing this will help your garden soil retain a consistent, natural balance and reduce high levels of nitrogen.
Use Natural Predators
Another effective means of getting rid of woolly aphids is to introduce some natural predators to your garden. These will not only eat up the woolly aphids but their eggs as well.
Another advantage of using natural predators is that they will also help control other insect pests in your garden.
Some natural predators you can use to control aphid’s activity include ladybugs, parasitic wasps, praying mantis, lacewings, hoverflies, butterflies, and bees.
You can encourage these natural predators to your garden by making sure your garden plants bloom properly, as the above-mentioned predators love a good bloom.
You can also go out and buy some of these predators. Ladybugs are sold commercially, so you can buy as many as you need and let them loose in your garden.
You can sit back, relax, and allow nature’s creatures to take care of nature’s pests.
Use Neem Oil
Neem oil is a very strong, natural weapon that can be used against aphids. They are derived from the seeds of neem trees and can cause extensive damage to insect pests.
It works by attacking the growth, feeding, and reproductive hormones of the woolly aphids and this hinders their ability to grow, feed, or lay eggs.
You can buy a neem oil-based insecticide and apply it to the branches and stems of the affected plants.
The woolly aphids will be dead in a matter of days upon eating the sap or leaves of the neem oil-covered plants.
A major advantage of using neem oil against woolly aphids is that it isn’t toxic. It is perfectly safe to use on your garden plants, and it will not harm humans.
Use Insecticidal Soap Spray
Insecticidal soap spray can also be used to win the fight against a woolly aphid infestation. You can buy a bottle at a store near you, or make one yourself right at the comfort of your home.
To prepare, simply mix some mild liquid soap with some white vinegar and some water. Stir thoroughly in a container and pour it into a spray bottle.
The next step would be to visit the affected plants and spray accordingly.
You can spray every 3 to 4 days until the woolly aphid population has been reduced.
Use Mild Chemical Solutions
Mild chemical solutions can also be used against woolly aphids. You have to be careful when you use them though, as they can also kill the beneficial predators in your garden.
There are several mild chemicals you can use to disinfect your plants of woolly aphids. These include Permethrin, malathion, imidacloprid, pyrethrum, and Bifenthrin.
Use Rubbing Alcohol
You can buy some rubbing alcohol and use it to remove and kill woolly aphids. Apply some to a clean cloth and gently rub it against the affected branches and stems to remove the aphids.
General Plant Maintenance
The best way to keep woolly aphids away from your trees in the first place is to keep them in prime condition.
Use only natural organic fertilizers as this reduces the occurrence of excessive not in the soil. Remember, too much nitrogen attracts woolly aphids.
Also prune them as at when due, as this will help control the aphid population in your garden.
Aphids can be very destructive to your garden plants. Follow these tips on how to get rid of woolly aphids to get rid of them.