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.
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)
- 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 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 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.
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.