Aphids On Crepe Myrtles

Aphids on Crape Myrtles

What Aphids Look Like To The Naked Eye

Our Arborists are warning homeowners to keep an eye out for Aphids on Crepe Myrtles (also spelled Crape Myrtles) this spring & summer. Last year our technicians reported high populations of aphids on crepe myrtles throughout the season and predict that this year will see high populations as well.

Crepe myrtle aphids reproduce rapidly. This makes it easy for them to quickly grow into a large population that will damage your tree.  Found throughout May through September, these tiny insects do damage by feeding on the soft tissues and plant sap of Crepe Myrtle leaves.

This type of aphid is species-specific meaning it only feeds on crepe myrtles. As a homeowner you only need to worry about this type of aphid if you own a Crepe Myrtle; however, there are other types of aphids that prey on other tree species and show similar signs of infestation.


Aphids on Crape Myrtles 2

Aphid Damage On Crape Myrtle (Yellow Dots From Aphids Sucking)

Signs & Symptoms of Aphids On Crepe Myrtles:

  • Drooping Leaves
  • Yellow Spots
  • Black small dots on the underside of the leaves (these are what aphids look like to the naked eye)
  • Honeydew
  • Sooty Mold
  • Ants on the Tree (Ants love the taste of honeydew. Trails of them going up and down the tree signal that honeydew and aphids are present.)

Honeydew:

Honeydew is the excrement of plant-sucking insects such as aphids. Many homeowners confuse honeydew with sap. Trees do not drip sap. If you have “sap” dripping from your tree it is honeydew and is a telltale sign of an insect infestation.

Sooty Mold:

Aphids On Crape Myrtle - Sooty Mold

Sooty mold is a fungus that grows on top of honeydew and coats the leaves of your trees to the point where they can no longer absorb sunlight. This interrupts photosynthesis and the tree will not be able to produce the nutrients they need for survival. If your trees and shrubs are turning black you most likely have a sooty mold problem caused by an insect infestation.

Many of our clients have had serious problems with Honeydew and Sooty Mold staining their sidewalks, fences, and house siding black. If you are having staining issues from Honeydew and Sooty Mold our arborist will be able to determine if it’s being caused by aphids, scale, or other plants sucking insects and recommend the appropriate treatment.


Getting Rid of Aphids

Organic Control through Beneficial Insects:

Aphids have many natural enemies, including lacewing larvae and ladybugs. We can release these predators on your property in order to control the population of these aphids. This is a great option for homeowners that are worried about chemicals on their property or have kids that would love to be involved in releasing the bugs on the property.

Traditional Control:

An arborist will be able to craft a treatment that fits your landscape and kills the aphid infestation.

Foliar Spray: foliar sprays will kill aphids on contact. When not correctly applied these sprays can hurt beneficial insects; however; our arborists and plant health care specialists abide by Integrated Pest Management Protocol. This protocol utilizes techniques that help target the intended pest while leaving the majority of the beneficial insect population unharmed.

Systemic Drench: systemic drenches are used in high traffic areas and around fish ponds. Although this option isn’t as traditional as the foliar spray it is still highly effective.

If you have aphids on crepe myrtles book a consultation with an arborist using our online form or by calling 703.573.3029.

The following two tabs change content below.
mm

Samantha Huff

Samantha Huff is the marketing coordinator at RTEC Treecare. She enjoys learning about the technical aspects of trees and the insects and diseases that prey on them. She hopes that these articles can help homeowners gain control of their tree and shrub maintenance by being aware of the signs and symptoms of unhealthy trees.

7 thoughts on “Aphids On Crepe Myrtles”

  1. Carfolyn Bonikowski says:

    Used a insectside soap for the sooty black mold and aphids on our crepe myrtles but hasn’t worked. What is the next step?

    1. Rtectree says:

      Carolyn, The next step would be finding a certified arborist to inspect your crepe myrtles and come up with a better non-DIY solution. Some trees need intensive applications with treatments that aren’t available to the public and only sold to companies with Commercial Pesticide Licenses.

    2. You really need to use a drench systemic. I thought I had lost an old one due to crape myrtle bark disease and I saved it. Go to a reputable nursery and ask for the product and how to use it.

  2. Michael says:

    I have sprayed everything I can buy in stores but every time I think the aphids are gone they’re back within a few days.

    1. Rtectree says:

      Hi Michael, thank you for your comment. Unfortuntly what is available in stores isn’t as effective as products used by professional tree or landscape companies. Aphids can be hard to get rid of but if you’re interested our Arborists can work with you to get the best results. Just schedule an appointment by calling 703-573-3029 or clicking the “Meet With An Arborist” button on the top of this webpage.

      -Samantha H.

  3. Tom Kleis says:

    I have several established crepe myrtles that I have aphids on. The trees have been in the ground for 10 years or more and this is the first time I have had any issues. I tried several pesticides (liquid seven, 3 in 1 form Bio Advanced etc.) but they have only produced temporary success.

    Looking for advice and what to do next.

    1. Rtectree says:

      Tom,

      I’d suggest having a Certified Arborist come out an look at the tree. There may be other stressors making the trees more susceptible to aphids and the product you’ve been using may just be making the issue worse. DIY pesticides/insecticides don’t typically work very well because of a few issues. 1) they are not as strong as products applied by tree care companies. To apply the product we use you must have your pesticide applicators license, because of this the products we use are not available to the general public. 2) you may be applying it at the wrong time of year/wrong time in the aphid life cycle. Some treatment only work at certain times in of the insect life cycle 3)If you’re not using a targeted product you’re killing a lot of beneficial insects at the same time. This throws off the delicate balance of your yard’s ecosystem which can cause bad insects to come back next year even stronger because there are no beneficial insects to keep them in check.

      It can be very tempting to treat these diseases/insects yourself but since you’re still having the same issue I’d suggest bringing in a Certified Arborist to help you treat this problem and prevent it in the future. In the meantime make sure to take measure to improve your tree’s overall health including watering your Crepes, applying bio-stimulants, mulching, and pruning regularly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *