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  • Writer's pictureKassi K.

How To Get Rid of Aphids in Landscape Trees and Shrubs

Aphids are more than just a nuisance. They cause irreparable damage to the plants in your landscaping, leaving your plants looking sickly and unattractive. They also leave a sticky residue wherever they go and can cause the spread of other diseases from plant to plant. Aphids camouflage themselves very effectively, multiply rapidly, and can cause extensive damage if not caught early. So, if you are wondering how to get rid of aphids, we are here to help!


What Are Aphids?

Aphids are small insects that feed on the tender leaves of your plants, sucking the sap out of your plants until they are shriveled and dead. Aphids are most commonly seen on outdoor trees, shrubs, or perennial plants. They easily go undetected and are most often discovered due to the damage they leave behind.


Aphids on a plant

What Do Aphids Look Like?

The appearance of aphids can vary, but in general, they are small, pear-shaped, soft-bodied insects. They can come in a variety of colors including green, black, red, yellow, brown, or gray, however green is the most common color. Their color allows them to camouflage themselves against the green leaves of whatever plant they have infested, making them difficult to spot. Some adult aphids have wings, enabling them to easily spread from plant to plant. Aphids can generally be found on the undersides of leaves as this also helps them avoid detection. As we mentioned above, the signs of aphids are often noticed before the aphids themselves are noticed. These signs include yellowing leaves, curling or twisted leaves, leaf drop, stunted growth, or honeydew, which is drops of a clear and sticky residue that is left behind by the aphids and often collects on the leaves of the plant or on any surface near the plant.


How To Get Rid of Aphids

If you are wondering how to get rid of aphids permanently, here are our top recommendations for insect control products:


1. Ladybugs

Purchase live ladybugs

Ladybugs are our favorite. These innocent looking insects are actually fierce predators that love to feed on aphids as well as a number of other pests. While there is no way to truly get rid of aphids permanently, encouraging a healthy population of ladybugs in and around your landscaping is probably the closest you can get to permanent pest control. Ladybugs can be naturally attracted to your property or you can purchase ladybugs to release in your landscaping. They will feed on the population of aphids until every last one is gone. If the ladybug population has enough bugs to feed on and if there are plants in your landscaping that encourage them to stay, they will remain in the area and reproduce year after year, providing you with pest control solutions for as long as they are around. Purchasing ladybugs is extremely affordable, costing less than most pest control products. They are also a completely natural solution to your pest problems! If you choose to use ladybugs, be sure not to use other pest control products as this will harm the ladybug population and hinder their effectiveness.


2. Horticultural Oil

Bonide All Seasons Horticultural Oil for Aphid Control

This is another excellent option for use in organic gardening. Horticultural oil is a type of paraffinic oil that smothers and suffocates any insects it comes in contact with. This pest control product comes with a hose-end sprayer for easy application. Be sure to thoroughly coat any infested plant, being sure not to miss the undersides of leaves or other tricky areas where aphids tend to congregate. Multiple applications may be necessary in the event that not every insect is targeted by the spray. One major benefit of this product is that it is safe for pets and children and can also be used on edible plants. If you choose to use horticultural oil to target your aphid infestations, we recommend applying the product later in the day when pollinators are less active to avoid harming these beneficial insects. Do not use in tandem with ladybugs.


3. Systemic Pest Control

Bonide Tree & Shrub systemic insect control

Systemic insect control products poison and kill any insects feeding on the plant it has been applied to. This works by the roots soaking up the solution that is watered into the soil. The tree, shrub, or perennial plant will then contain the solution, which is toxic to the pests, throughout the entirety of the plant, so that when the pest feeds on your plant, they are poisoned and die. Trees and shrubs generally absorb water at a rate of around a foot per day, so depending on how large the plant in question is, it could take up to a few days for the solution to make its way throughout your whole plant. Take note that this product is not organic and should never be used on edible plants, as the fruit of any plant where a systemic product is used will also contain the toxins. We also do not recommend using systemic pest control solutions in tandem with ladybugs, as it will kill the ladybugs along with any other insects feeding on your plants.


4. Chemical Pest Control

Bonide Eight Chemical Insect Control Product

Bonide Eight Insect Control is a chemical product that is highly effective in your home and gardens. Killing over 100 pests on contact, this product can be used on vegetables, lawns, trees, shrubs, and more! This product is not organic, though it can be used in the garden. Be sure to thoroughly wash any edible fruits or vegetables that have been treated with Eight Insect Control before consumption. Multiple applications may be required in the event that not every single insect is reached by the spray. Keep children and pets away from any treated area until the product has a chance to dry. It is recommended to apply this product in the evening when pollinator activity is low, as it will also kill any beneficial insects that come into contact with the spray.


Pest Control Solutions for Your Landscaping

If you have more questions about how to identify aphids, how to get rid of aphids, or any other questions related to pests in your landscaping, we are here to help. Shop a variety of pest control products at Bath Garden Center or in our online store. You can also reach out to us for help from the professionals!


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