If you wonder why your plants are suffering from stunted growth and curled leaves, you may have an aphid infestation. It can be difficult to recognize aphids in your garden because they are small. However, it is important to identify these pests to know what you are dealing with and get rid of them.
Aphids have small, pear-shaped bodies, antennae, and long legs in relation to the size of its body.
There are different species of aphids, and they come in different colours. The most common aphids are green in colour, but others can be black, pink, green, yellow, or grey. Adult aphids do not have wings. However, once the plant takes over becomes overcrowded, the aphids develop wings and then fly off to infect other plants. Aphids live where they eat, and you can find them in large numbers under plant leaves.
What Do Woolly Aphids Look Like?
Another species of aphids you will find in your garden are woolly aphids. These aphids are pear-shaped and are brown or black. These aphids have a white furry coating as opposed to others. The wax filaments on these aphids make them look like they are covered in wool.
Adult woolly aphids can be as big as 2mm. These aphids kind of looks like mealybugs with the wool and their oval bodies. It is not easy to spot woolly aphids in your garden as they are quite small. However, aphids eat together and are usually found in groups. Woolly aphids in a bunch look like cotton balls.
Nymph woolly aphids look the same as adults except smaller. You can spot these aphids on the underside of leaves. It is important to take a good look as sometimes the aphids bunched together to look like dust or only dirt.
What Is The Difference Between Woolly Aphids and Mealybugs?
It is important to distinguish between woolly aphids and mealybugs. Often, people can confuse woolly aphids with mealybugs.
Both aphids and mealybugs have a cotton-like appearance. Hence, it can be hard to tell both the insects apart. However, there are a few differences that can help you separate the two insects. For instance, mealybugs are usually found in groups around the stem of plants. On the other hand, aphids congregate on the underside of the leaves.
You will find that the damage caused by woolly aphids is far greater than mealybugs. This is because while both insects suck the sap out of plants, weakening them in the process, woolly aphids move at a faster rate than mealy bugs.
In addition, aphids tend to develop wings at a later stage when the current plant becomes overcrowded. Hence, when you disturb any aphids sitting on your plants, they tend to fly away. However, you do not get the same reaction when it comes to mealybugs because they do not have wings to fly. Mealybugs are also much slower than aphids and will not scurry off when disturbed. Also, both insects belong to different insect families altogether.
What Do Black Aphids Look Like?
Unlike usual aphids, you can spot black aphids on plants as they contrast with the green of the leaves. Black aphids have a similar physical appearance to others, the only exception being the color. Black aphids are also known as black bean aphids or black fly. These aphids are 2mm in size and have an elliptical shape.
While these aphids are black, they can sometimes appear as purple or dark green. As aforementioned, you can easily spot black aphids in your garden, which makes it easy to identify and get rid of them.
How to Identify Aphids in Your Garden
No matter which aphid infestation you are dealing with, you will experience the same grave damage. However, there are a few plant symptoms that you can look out for which indicate that you have an aphid infestation. Moreover, it is important to add that identifying aphid damage is essential to get rid of them immediately.
You must carefully monitor your plant’s appearance. A healthy plant that is thriving will have vibrant, bright leaves. On the other hand, an infested plant will have curling and yellowing leaves. This is because aphids feed on plants and leave their saliva behind. The aphid saliva is toxic, which is why the leaves turn yellow and begin to curl.
In addition to leaves, you must also focus on the stems of the plants. Usually, when a plant has been infested with aphids, it is covered with a sticky liquid. This liquid is called honeydew and attracts ants. While aphids are consuming plant sap, they are producing honeydew. Ants and aphids enjoy a symbiotic relationship, which is why if you have a lot of ants in your garden, chances are you also have aphids.
Therefore, when tackling aphids, it is important to deal with the ants in your garden simultaneously. In addition to attracting ants, honeydew also produces black soot. This sooty mold is a type of fungal growth that can make your plant branches appear black.
Lastly, your plants can experience stunted growth and suffer from malnutrition. Plants that have been infested with aphids usually have a short lifespan. Aphids can also cause galls to form on the roots and stems of plants. These small insects will also transmit viruses to plants and spread them around your whole garden.
Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects found feeding on plant sap. These insects may be small, but the damage they cause to plants is great. These insects come in different species, but they all have pear-shaped bodies, antennas, and long legs. Woolly aphids are one of the species of aphids and are covered with wool. When these aphids are gathered, they look like balls of wool.
Other kinds of aphids include the black aphid. You can easily spot these aphids against the contrast of the green. Woolly aphids can sometimes get confused for mealybugs, but they are faster and spread quickly. It is important to distinguish aphids from other insects, so you take appropriate action against them.
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