One morning while coming to the garden and finding cotton-like fibers stuck to various plants, you are aware that they are dealing with a living being. That is what we call woolly aphids.
This insect is so named because its body has white and fuzzy wax, which reminds you of soft wool. But instead of textiles, they are one of the pests that threaten your plants. What to do then?
These white fuzzy insects are very common to find in various plants in gardens and yards. They are one of the 4000 types of aphids that exist worldwide.
Like most plant lice, woolly aphids are only about 2-4 mm. They have a soft pear-shaped body. The difference is, this type has a fibrous white part like cotton.
These insects live in groups, giving the impression that the plant is full of caterpillar nests. They live by sucking plant juices, both leaves, roots, and stems. It can reduce the power of your growers.
The cotton-like part is the wax with a sticky texture when it comes into contact with other creatures. It makes predators reluctant to approach so the woolly aphids can develop freely.
The reproduction process is unique because it involves two hosts. First, the mother lays the eggs in a location where they will develop without any mating process.
After two generations of development on the first host, the new woolly aphids become adults and have wings. They also look for other locations to eat and reproduce.
Are They Damage Your Plant?
The good news is that woolly aphids do not do much damage to your plants. They eat the essence of the buds, stems, and various parts of the growers but do not cause much interference for growth.
However, the existence is disturbing because they produce an excretion that invites more problems, namely honeydew. The following are things you will face if those woolly aphid larvae start attacking.
Woolly Aphids Effects
These insects generally live and eat in groups so that their presence will be easily visible. As explained above, woolly aphids suck the juices by injecting saliva into parts of the plant.
Generally, the attacked parts will be damaged and fall to the earth. But luckily, they do not congregate in large numbers that you can pretty much handle.
You can easily eradicate woolly aphids by various methods. But the problem appears when they attack the roots. In addition to being hard to see, you will also find it is not easy to do the safe treatment.
Honeydew and Sooty Mold
The attack of the woolly aphids also coincided with the honeydew. This sugar-rich substance is a waste product that they release when they inject saliva into plant parts in the feeding process.
This material does not have a detrimental effect, but it attracts many other insects, such as ants and yellowjackets.
Those creatures will participate in foraging for honeydew excretion sites so that it has the potential to cause damage.
In addition, honeydew also has a sticky nature and adheres tightly to plants. If you do not fix it immediately, this material can also cause sooty mold.
Sooty mold is a type of fungus that usually appears in locations where woolly aphids are infected. Again, it does not cause significant damage but leaves a dark mark that interferes with the beauty of the plant.
Woolly Aphids Treatment
Although woolly aphids rarely have a significant impact, you still have to know how to deal with them. Even the lightest infestation must get the appropriate treatment that it does not spread to other damage.
How to Get Rid of Woolly Aphids
The first thing we will discuss is how to take those woolly aphid larvae out of your garden. Eradicating is not difficult because they rarely appear in large numbers.
It is just that you need to do various considerations before choosing a particular method.
Applying a chemical-based insect repellent is the simplest method. However, its use is often a last resort because it will bring other effects that may be worse. Here are some things you can do.
The safest way to eradicate this pest is to present predators in the infected area. Some insects to control the number of woolly aphids are hoverflies, ladybugs, lacewing, and the most popular are parasitic wasps.
In addition, you can also spread praying mantis around locations that get attacked. If you cannot find it in nature, you can also buy the seeds at various shops that sell gardening supplies.
Talking about the expulsion of pests, you do not need to worry at all. There are so many products to repel distractions from your garden, including woolly aphids. One that you can use is insecticidal soap.
You can easily buy this product and get a quick effect to eradicate pests. It contains soap which kills insects slowly but effectively. Otherwise, make your homemade soap with the ingredients you have at home.
Insecticides sometimes do not effective if you are dealing with multiple pests. If you are facing more than woolly aphids, such as mammals, then start using pesticides.
Its use is very effective in getting rid of various kinds of insects and pests.
However, this chemical should be a last resort because of its effects that can damage the environment, including soil and plant conditions.
If there is a pesticide that is safe for the environment, then neem oil is the answer. This plant-based insect repellent is easily decomposed and leaves a minimum residue that will not disturb the environment.
Neem oil is from neem leaves which contain active ingredients such as azadirachtin, meliantriol, salanin, and nimbin.
The way it works does not directly kill pests but affects appetite and an unhealthy lifestyle. Over time, the woolly aphids will die from a lack of nutrients.
Call the Professional
Everyone has their problems. If you cannot apply those previous methods, take the final step. Call an exterminator in the area where you live to eradicate the woolly aphids.
By using professional services, all pest problems will be in the safe hand thoroughly.
You will also have the convenience of controlling various types of damage that may appear. But do not forget to prepare more budgets.
How to Control
If the plants are already infected, then you need to use any methods so that those woolly aphids disappear from the garden. However, preventing is always better than cure.
Before the aphids become an epidemic, it is a good idea to take preventive measures that they do not have a chance to lay eggs. The following techniques can prevent their arrival.
Keeping your garden clean is one of the most effective ways to keep out any pests, including woolly aphids. It is necessary to get rid of the weeds as they have the potential to become insect homes.
The abundance of grass will be a source of food that attracts various insects. Therefore, you have to ensure that it is in a clean condition by diligently carrying out periodic inspections.
Ensuring Healthy Plants
The main thing that you should pay attention to is the health of the plant. Pests have little interest in attacking healthy growers. Therefore, appropriate care will help prevent woolly aphids.
You can add fertilizer, provide treatments that can support growth and development, and do enough watering. Sunlight is also necessary for growers.
Apart from removing weeds, it is necessary to do regular pruning. During this process, you will also know if your plants are in good condition to resolve any woolly aphids problem immediately.
Prune the plants to make them look fresher and more beautiful. You can schedule the pruning process periodically according to the needs of the plant.
Should Not Use Chemicals
Using chemicals is indeed a powerful way to get rid of woolly aphids. However, its use can trigger environmental changes, such as soil conditions, acidity, and even plant structure.
Therefore, to keep plants healthy and avoid mutations, you should use natural ingredients. Utilize fertilizers or drugs that have safe ingredients, such as Neem oil or predators.
Heavy rain can repel these insects from plants and whatever they inhabit. The white fuzzy aphids will have difficulty moving and even die due to strong currents.
But if there is no rain, you can use water spray to repel the woolly aphids from the garden. However, if there are too many insects, repeat it several times.
Removing the Honeydew
Honeydew is another problem when dealing with wooly aphids. Although harmless, these excretions are sticky and invite other, more destructive pests.
You cannot get rid of it with just water. Take a sponge or washcloth to scrub the splashed area. Using soap if necessary, but not too hard to avoid damaging the surface.
Before you use a particular cleaner, do not forget to try it on a small area first. Ensure that the effect of the soap you use will be damaging or not.
Woolly aphids do not cause major damage to plant health. However, their presence can pose a greater danger. Therefore, you need to know when to eradicate and prevent them from coming.