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Shop > Beneficial Insects > Aphid Controls

Aphids are among the most destructive insect pests on cultivated plants both in greenhouse, gardens and interiorscapes. The damage they do to plants has made them enemies of growers, farmers and gardeners the world over. They are so damaging due to their abilities to reproduce asexually.

Pest Description

Aphids are small (about 1/8 inch long), pear-shaped, soft-bodied insects that occur in many colors, including black, green, red, pink, yellow, brown, or gray. The best characteristic for identifying aphids is the two cornicles (“tail pipes”) found on the rear of their abdomen. The appearance of cornicles can vary with species. As aphids increase in size, they shed their exoskeletons (cast skins). These white cast skins, often mistaken for adult whiteflies or another aphid species, can be found on leaves or stuck in honeydew excretions. Nymphs appear as smaller versions of the wingless adults. Winged adults are similar in color, but slightly darker, primarily a result of their wings.

Aphid Damage

Aphids suck plant sap from leaves and stems through a fine, needle-like stylet. Damage from feeding is quite variable, ranging from no apparent damage to off-color foliage, twisted and curled leaves, gall formation, poor plant growth, and plant dieback. Feeding aphids secrete excess sugars from their abdomen in the form of sticky “honeydew.” Honeydew supports the growth of black sooty mold which reduces the photosynthetic area of the leaf, which can ultimately result in smaller fruit. In addition, aphids are vectors of several different viruses. Viruses can cause mottling, yellowing, or curling of leaves and stunting of plant growth. In some cases the fruit can be misshapen.

Tips

  • Keeping your garden free of weeds can help to reduce potential aphid hosts. Weeds such as sowthistle and mustard can support large colonies of aphids.
  • Excessive nitrogen can favor aphid reproduction; therefore plants should be grown with appropriate soil fertility levels. Application of less soluble forms of nitrogen, in small portions throughout the season is less likely to promote aphid infestations.
  • Aphids can be physically knocked off of plants with a strong spray of water from a garden hose. In addition, this will also help wash off any honeydew or sooty mold that may be present.

Aphid Mix: Aphelinus abdominalis / Aphidius colemani / Aphidius ervi / Aphidius matricariae
Aphid Mix: Aphelinus abdominalis / Aphidius colemani / Aphidius ervi / Aphidius matricariae

Outdoor LADYBUGS <br> (General Predator)
Outdoor LADYBUGS
(General Predator)


Green Lacewing on Strings (General Predator)
Green Lacewing on Strings (General Predator)

New! Brown Lacewing, Micromus variegatus<br>(General Predator)
Brown Lacewing, Micromus variegatus
(General Predator)


APHELINUS ABDOMINALIS (Parasite)
APHELINUS ABDOMINALIS (Parasite)

Indoor LADYBUGS <br> (General Predator)
Indoor LADYBUGS
(General Predator)


LACEWINGS (General Predator)
LACEWINGS (General Predator)

APHIDOLETES APHIDIMYZA (Predator)
APHIDOLETES APHIDIMYZA (Predator)

APHIDIUS COLEMANI & A. MATRICARIAE (Parasite)
APHIDIUS COLEMANI & A. MATRICARIAE (Parasite)



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