We are all familiar with the tiny green aphids hanging out on stems and leaves, but root aphids are an entirely different problem. These sneaky, near-cousins of the aphid are easily unnoticed and are like an invisible enemy to your plants. Discover how to get rid of root aphids and stop them from returning.
You work hard to care for your plants, giving them the fertilizer they crave, the water they thirst for, and the sunshine they desire. It is very disheartening to discover that the leaves of your tender, green friends are yellowing, withered, and curled.
Seeing plants in this state often leads to confusion, especially if you do everything right while growing them. What is wrong with your plants?
While your plants appear to be free of visible pests, they are often attacked by an unseen enemy. Root aphids hide at the soil line, and steal essential nutrients from the plants, disabling their ability to survive. Blossoms and fruits appear small and stunted, while foliage struggles to live.
Identifying Root Aphids and Eliminating the Problem
Many insects enjoy spending their days causing havoc on your plants, both indoors and out. Spider mites, root aphids, fungus gnats, and the list goes on. Many of them are visible and easy to identify, but others are hard to locate.
We’ll help you understand the root aphid vs fungus gnat debate and choose the right remedy for the problem. This brings us to the following dilemma, which is how to kill root aphids without harming your plants’ root system.
Many times, rather than being visible little green bugs on tomato plants, they are unseen while they spread through the growth area until the evidence is visible through sad and dying foliage.
No worries, though, as you still have time to kill these nasty pests and save your plants from further destruction, mildew, root rot, and disease.
Root Aphid vs Fungus Gnat, Mealybugs, Thrips, and Spider Mites
Root aphid larvae and aphids are tiny and are often misidentified. It’s vital to know which creepy crawlers you’re dealing with since systemic insecticides, such as imidacloprid, do not work to kill them.
Root aphids, or phylloxera, are tiny and roughly the size of a spider mite, blending in with the soil and plants’ roots. However, spider mites are arachnids.
Root aphids have a pear-shaped body, unlike the oval shape of mealybugs, and secrete a whiter honeydew substance than other types of aphids.
As they mature, they grow wings and resemble fungus gnats. During this time, they lay eggs and continue their life cycle. Ants commonly carry aphids to new plants as old plants deteriorate, spreading the problem even further.
People often use Beauveria bassiana, a biological control fungus, as an effective treatment for killing aphids around the root ball. However, there are several ways to kill root aphids and stop nutrient deficiencies in plants using household ingredients.
How to Kill Root Aphids with Neem Oil
There are a variety of insecticides on the market, including BotaniGard and AzaMax. But, it’s just as easy to make homemade aphid killer spray or insecticidal soap using neem oil. This oil has an active ingredient, azadirachtin, which is a natural derivative of neem tree seeds.
For treating aphids on petunias and other plants, combine the neem oil, dish soap, and water in a watering can or sprayer and mix well. Spray all parts of the leaves, stems, and soil with the natural insecticide.
Drench outdoor plants in the evening to allow them to soak up the liquid, and avoid spraying them in full sun. Repeat once a week for up to five weeks.
How to Get Rid of Root Aphids with Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is an effective liquid for root aphid control and killing spider mites and other garden pests. It is also useful for flushing the root zone of hydroponic plants.
Soak the soil thoroughly with a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide. If there are visible pests on the stems or leaves, use this as a foliar spray. Fill a bottle with the peroxide and spray the leaves and bugs directly.
Hydrogen peroxide has many uses besides medicinal ones. It is also quite effective for fungus gnats in house and garden as well as making a disinfectant spray for cleaning.
Preventing a Root Aphid Infestation
There are many forms of pest control when it comes to root aphids. While it’s easy to keep the soil moist and minimize plant stress to keep these pests away, these are not wholly effective at bug prevention.
If you discover a root aphid infestation early enough, a chrysanthemum based botanical is an effective preventative. These sprays contain pyrethrins, a potent insecticide that is effective on many types of insects.
Diatomaceous earth is another wise choice. This naturally occurring powder kills insects after they travel through the dust.
Yellow sticky traps are also a good tool for getting rid of these pests. Lay the traps across the soil and watch as the aphids get stuck to the surface.
Consider introducing beneficial nematodes and insects such as parasitic wasps and ladybugs to the garden. These critters are very effective at killing root aphids and other tiny insects in the yard.
Having the greenest thumb in the neighborhood means little to nothing if an invisible enemy attacks your plants. Understanding the differences between destructive garden pests is key to solving the problem.
Knowing which remedy works to eliminate and prevent further infestation is the solution. Fortunately, it is easy to do and safe for your plants.
Learning how to get rid of root aphids in your indoor and outdoor plants is vital to ensuring they receive the nutrients they require to thrive, so why not share our root aphid prevention guide with your friends and family on Pinterest and Facebook?