Aphids are small, soft bodied insects commonly called plant lice or ant cows. They range in color from green to brown, red, black or purple. Some species may even have different color forms in the same colony. Most have the soft exoskeleton exposed, but some species produce waxy, cottony strands which cover the body. These are often called woolly aphids.
Range from 1/16 to 1/8-inch in length.
Virtually every plant has at least one aphid species that attacks it. There are about 4,000 species of aphids in the world of which about 250 are serious pests. These small insects are masters of reproduction and are often found in great numbers on stems or leaves. Some species even feed on the roots of plants.
Aphids are common pests of nearly all indoor and outdoor ornamental plants, as well as vegetables, fruit trees, and field crops. Aphids injure plants by directly removing plant juices (sap from phloem tissues) and causing plant stress, reducing the aesthetic quality of plants by secreting a sugary liquid (called "honeydew") on which a black-colored fungus called "sooty mold" grows, discoloring the foliage and further stressing the plant by preventing sunlight from reaching plant cells for photosynthesis, and by possibly transmitting plant diseases, particularly viruses.
Probably the most common disturbance caused by aphids is their never-ending production of honeydew. This sweet liquid drips onto plant foliage and stems and soon the plant is covered with black sooty mold. Cars, sidewalks, and lawn furniture under trees infested with aphids are also covered with this sticky fluid. Ants, flies, and wasps appreciate the sugary meal and can become a nuisance of their own since they are attracted to the honeydew.
Do you live in South Florida and think aphids may be invading your yard? Hulett Environmental Services offers specialty lawn care treatments designed to control and eliminate this pest!