Aphids can be a big problem for any gardener and some species can be more troublesome than others. One of these is the woolly aphid. So, let’s have a look at where you may find woolly aphids and how to get rid of woolly aphids in the garden.
How to Kill Woolly Aphids
Woolly aphids are not that different from other aphid species, they can be killed and controlled in the same ways as others. Killing them is one of the easiest ways to get rid of woolly aphids. Here are a few natural and easy ways to kill any woolly aphids you have in your garden.
Use Natural Predators
Using natural predators to control aphid populations have become a lot more common because it is completely natural, and caring for these predators helps to maintain a healthy ecosystem.
You can purchase natural aphid predators from biological control suppliers, with the popular choices being the primary predators of aphids, ladybugs and lacewing larvae.
Using alcohol will kill aphids instantly, but it does have to be done correctly to make sure that you do not damage your plants or any other insects that may be in your garden.
The most precise way to do this is to get a cotton bud, dip it in ethanol and touch the individual aphids one by one. This method does take some time, but it does give you precise and effective results.
Use an Insecticidal Soap Spray
Many commercial insecticides contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment. But you can make a completely natural soap spray that will kill aphids at home.
Mix a couple of teaspoons of natural liquid dish soap with a large amount of water. Put it in a spray bottle and spritz the leaves of your plants.
It is always a good idea to do a test on just a couple of leaves to make sure that your solution is diluted enough to not cause any harm to your plants.
What Do Woolly Aphids Look like?
To know if you have an infestation of woolly aphids, it is a good idea to know what they look like. Woolly aphids are black in colour, but they will cover themselves in a waxy substance.
This waxy substance is a pure white and often looks like there is a mass of cotton or wool covering the aphid, hence their name. You will often find young woolly aphids, or nymphs, on the twigs and park of plants rather than on their leaves.
What Plants Do Woolly Aphid Inhabit?
There are some different subspecies of woolly aphids that inhabit different plants. Below we’re going to look at the favourite plants of woolly aphids and which ones you are most likely to find woolly aphids on.
Woolly aphids are big fans of apple trees and will usually derive the sap from the bark of the tree rather than the leaves.
You can tell if your apple tree has an infestation because the bark will soon become covered in a white waxy substance in areas where the aphids commonly feed.
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A fully mature apple tree will be able to withstand a small colony of woolly aphids, but a sapling or young apple tree can be easily damaged due to the presence of aphids.
Firethorns are shrubs that are evergreen and produce bright red berries. Woolly aphids can often be found feeding off of the twigs of firethorn bushes.
Similarly to apple trees, you can tell if there has been an infestation due to the presence of any waxy white substance around the twigs. I should note that these plants do have thorns, so be careful when removing aphids, especially if you choose to do so by hand.
How to Prevent Woolly Aphid Infestations
A lot of the time, the easiest way to deal with an aphid infestation is to prevent it in the first place. There are some basic things that you can do which will naturally deter woolly aphids and keep your plants safe.
Place Banana Peels Around Plants
Many aphids appear to dislike the smell of bananas and will not inhabit plants that smell of banana.
Aphids are also said to dislike the smell of marigolds so you can plant these as a deterrent. However, be careful as there are unscented strains, and these will not work as a deterrent.
To summarise our articles on how to get rid of woolly aphids, you are likely to find woolly aphids on apple trees and firethorn shrubs. To prevent this, you can deter aphids by using banana peels or marigolds.
To kill any aphids, you can employ natural predators, use alcohol or make a natural insecticide soap spray at home.
Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden