Professional and home gardeners are aware of the many garden pests that can attack their plants. White aphids are one pest that can cause damage in large numbers.
The many species of aphids feast on the plant juices of a wide variety of plants. Aphid colonies can cause minor to major problems.
Aphids are tiny, sap-sucking creatures. Gardeners can control and get rid of aphids what they are and how they behave.
What Are White Aphids?
A white aphid is one of many aphid species in the family. They are tiny, soft-bodied, pear-shaped insects and like to feed on tender, new plant growth.
Gardeners find them dining together on the underside of leaves and new growth. An aphid uses its sucking mouthparts to puncture and suck out nutrient-rich sap from a plant.
White aphids do not discriminate between indoor and outdoor plants.
Learn more about Aphids on Hibiscus
They become a problem because of the speed at which they grow and reproduce. A female aphid gives birth to live young.
In a matter of weeks, the young can mature and begin to reproduce. Aphid eggs can also overwinter in the soil.
Aphids are tiny and blend in well with plant foliage. Outward signs of an aphid infestation include:
- Deformed flowers
- Damaged fruit
- Curled yellow leaves
What Damage Do White Aphids Cause?
White aphids reproduce multiple generations in one year. The speed at which female aphids reproduce is why gardeners need to act fast to avoid damage to their plants.
White aphids aren’t attracted to only plants that bear fruit. They like certain types of flowers too. Zinnias, dahlias, cosmos, and aster are beautiful flowers to add to a flower garden.
But these plants are also an aphid trapper. Aphids enjoy sucking the rich nectar these flowers produce.
An aphid infestation can cause deformed flowers, curled leaves, and have a lackluster look.
Vegetable and fruit gardeners should also look out for aphid damage to their plants. Aphids don’t usually cause significant damage unless their numbers increase.
With a high aphid infestation, a vegetable plant can experience irreparable damage.
Aphids can cause the leaves of a healthy plant to curl and turn yellow. Eventually, these leaves will fall off.
Plants will then spend more energy growing new foliage than fruit. Plants producing fruit will begin to produce deformed fruits and vegetables.
Having an aphid infestation can also leave room for other problems.
White aphids carry bacteria and viruses distributed to other plants as they move around and pierce the plant.
If you see an abundance of ants, an aphid infestation is very likely. Aphids release a sticky substance called honeydew, and ants love it.
Ants cause damage from chewing on the stem and leaves of a plant for the honeydew. But they also deter predatory insects from helping you combat an aphid issue.
How to Control a White Aphid Infestation?
The good news is that there are effective ways to control or rid your garden of white aphids. There are natural organic aphid controls and chemical methods to choose from for every type of gardener.
The first step to control an aphid population is through prevention. The most critical nutrient a plant requires is nitrogen. This nutrient is part of the chlorophyll, which aids in photosynthesis.
Be careful though, too much nitrogen could be an open door for aphids to come through. A healthy plant can fight off the pests’ battle.
Organic Aphid Control
Since aphids are soft-bodied insects, and easy to control with a simple soapy water garden spray. Mix 1 tablespoon of Dawn liquid dish soap or castile soap in a quart of water for a soapy insect spray.
Once you spot aphids on your plants, use a garden hose with a blast of water to knock them off the plant.
Don’t forget to wash the aphid honeydew excrement on the foliage. Don’t use too much water pressure and beat up your plants!
Companion planting is also an excellent preventative measure.
Add color to your garden and attract more natural predators by planting clover, mint, dill, yarrow, and fennel.
Use plants to your advantage by planting catnip, garlic, allium, chive, and onion – they are natural aphid repellents.
Plant a decoy or trap crop like Nasturtium or calendula. A trap crop helps control aphids by attracting the aphid population to the sacrificial plant.
If your aphid population continues to increase, apply a Neem oil spray or a mixture of essential oils and water.
To make an essential oil spray, use four to five drops of peppermint, clove, rosemary, and thyme. Mix with water in a spray bottle and apply to all surfaces of the plant.
Chemical pesticides can also be used for aphid control. For best results, use an insecticidal soap or oil.
If using chemical sprays:
- Make sure to get thorough coverage
- Do not apply in hot temperatures
- Follow the labeled instructions