Simple Steps to Control Root Aphids
The world of insect pests has become a challenge attacking and destroying food crops that have mounted into the millions of dollars. These insect pests are not only a menace or limited to field crops but have found their way into our home gardens. The demand for ways to control these pests has risen, but even so, safer approaches have been sorted thereby making food crops along with shrubs, flowering plants, etc… free of contaminants.
While these garden insect pests may be a challenge some good has come out of this nightmare because these bugs are not only increasing the productions of products to control them but have also brought balance to the eco-system being consumed both by the more friendly bugs and also wildlife. The downside to this, however, is that beneficial insect is being eliminated in garden areas which are treated for these insect pests.
But what we can do is educate ourselves on the use of the more environmentally friendly products which is safe to use around humans and pets along with knowing when and how to use these chemicals to limit the eradication of beneficial insects. In this article, however, we will be looking at one such garden insect pests which can be a real nuisance to plant life. This insect pest is known as the root aphids.
The aphid family
It is believed that there are about 5000 species of aphids that are included in the Aphidoidea family now that is a big family but not to prolong the topic at hand we will jump right in. In the home garden, one family of insect pest which can be seen attacking and feeding on plant parts especially the tender or young growth are aphids. Aphids have a piercing-sucking mouthpart which is like a hypodermic needle that pierces the plant’s tissues and ingests its fluids. The removal of this fluid causes plant injuries. Signs that you may have an aphid problem besides physically seeing them include.
1. A sticky substance that is found on the leaves of your plant. This substance is known as honeydew which is the secretion or excrement of aphids.
2. The plant growth is stunted.
3. A black substance forms on the plant leaves which is known as sooty mold. This mold not only causes your plant to take on a dirty appearance but also distracts from your plant’s beauty, sooty mold may also interfere with photosynthesis which is the process by which plants use the sunlight to manufacture food.
4. You will also notice that your plant leaves begin to turn yellow.
5. The leaves will distort and curl up.
6. Leaves eventually turn brown followed by leaf drop.
If this issue is not dealt with immediately your once beautiful plant will become a nightmare. What I found interesting about aphids however is that they are among some of the easiest garden insect pests to treat. A strong spray of water with a garden hose attachment where the water comes out strong such as gauging the nozzle to jet spray will knock them off eliminating them.
Because some plants are tender this pressure may cause the leaves to be detached even though this is a safe approach. Another method is the use of horticultural oil or insecticidal soap which has proven to give good results. Before apply chemicals read and follow the manufactures label because the label is the law. But what if the aphids are not living above ground but rather below ground causing injury to your plant what do you do?
Root aphids control
Garden insect pest does not only live above ground but some also can be found inhabiting the soil. These insect pests cause injury to plant life by feeding on the plant’s root system or burrowing through the soil cutting the plant root’s when this happens garden plants have a difficult time and in some cases depending on the severity of the damage is no longer able to take up water and nutrients, when this happens the plant will eventually be lost if quick action is not taken at the onset of these uninvited ( aphids ) guest.
The challenge with these insect pests as mention earlier is they inhabit the soil or can be found at the soil line, therefore, a thorough inspection along with proper recognition of these insects are so important.
How to identify root aphids?
The root aphid is similar in appearance to their family in the photo above, which is small and pared shaped. Their color is generally white and brown but their colors can vary depending on environmental conditions along with what they are feeding on, other symptoms may include stunting of your plant, the foliage, flowers, and stems are no longer healthy looking and the plants leave will also wilt. Further investigation at the soil line may reveal deformed roots that have knots along with a build-up of the aphid secretion that is known as honeydew. Aphids may also be seen moving about in the soil along with the presence of ants. Ants feed on the aphids secretion which is sugary, the presence of these ants is to protect the aphids from predators and the ant’s reward as stated earlier is to collect and feed on this sugary secretion.
How to treat root aphids?
Although root aphids are a menace all is not lost once the proper action is taken to bring these garden insect pests under control. Below we will be discussing a few measures which can be taken that will ensure success.
Growing medium plays an important role in the control or prevention of root aphids, compost, and commercial soil mixes should be inspected for the adults along with their eggs and larvae. Soils can also be sterilized before use, it is also good to start a compost pile at home that way you are sure that you are using a quality organic mix.
Drenching the soil with systemic is another way to rid your soil of root aphids but keep in mind to read and follow the manufacturer’s label because what you don’t want is to misuse these chemicals damping more than the required amount which can get into the water system also remember you don’t want to mishandle chemicals especially when it comes to food crops.
Using beneficial nematodes has been used as a safe approach or biological control to treat soil-inhabiting insect pests. Nematodes are tiny parasitic worms that infect these soil dwellers. What is so great about nematodes is they will not affect plant life in any negative way except to help them by getting rid of aphids. Nematodes are totally harmless to people, earthworms, and animals. They can be purchased from your plant nursery or garden center.
How to apply nematodes?
Nematodes can be applied by filling a spray bottle with water and adding the number of nematodes as instructed by the label on the package. The proper mixture is reached by gently shaking the bottle then spraying this mixture around the base of your plant wetting the soil completely. Once this action is taken these nematodes will penetrate the soil and go to work within about 24 hours. Months after this application they will still be hard at work. This process can be repeated if root aphids reappear.
The Final word on root aphid control
I am so happy that you stuck around to the end, it’s wonderful to know that these insect pests can be eliminated. For many, it is so frustrating when your garden plants are declining of some underlying issue and you can’t seem to put your finger on it. The good news is the answers to your question are just a click away by visiting this website and searching for what you need. We will continue to bring you the most updated information in this industry so you can always be a step ahead. If you are one of those who are having problems with the root aphids you have just gotten the answer so go ahead and give it a try as we continue to win the war on garden insect pests.
About the author
Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.