Aphids may be green, yellow, brown, red or black depending on the species and the plants they feed on. A few species appear waxy or woolly. All are small, pear-shaped insects with long legs and antennae. When the weather is warm, many species of aphids can develop from newborn nymph to reproducing adult in 7 to 8 days. Because each adult aphid can produce up to 80 offspring in a matter of a week, aphid populations can increase with great speed.
Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects with long, slender mouth parts that they use to pierce stems, leaves and other tender plant parts and suck out plant fluids. Almost every plant has one or more aphid species that occasionally feeds on it. Large populations of aphids cause curling, yellowing and distortion of leaves and stunting of shoots; aphids can also cause a plant to produce large quantities of a sticky substance known as honeydew, which often turns black with the growth of a sooty mold fungus. Some aphid species inject a toxin into plants, which further distorts growth. Ants are often associated with aphid populations, especially on trees and shrubs, and often are a tip-off that an aphid infestation is present. If you see large numbers of ants climbing up your tree trunks, check for aphids (or other honeydew-producing insects) on limbs and leaves above. To protect their food source, ants ward off many predators and parasites of aphids. Management of ants is a key component of aphid management.
Aphids can be controlled through a variety of means including cultural, biological and chemical means. Clark’s Pest Control offers a variety of solutions for your lawn and garden and can address problems you are having with both aphids and ants in your yard.