For gardeners who love growing crops indoors and outdoors, it becomes a real pain when dealing with pests like mealybugs, spider mites, fungus gnats, and, worst of all, root aphids. Although these aphids are a bigger problem for indoor cannabis growers, knowing how to kil root aphids is a time-sensitive matter.
Once you have a root aphid infestation, saving the plant or stopping it from stunting is hard. Regardless of what types of plants you’re growing, trying to get rid of root aphids takes a lot of research.
We bet your mind is overflowing with questions. What do root aphids look like? How do they hurt my plants? How do I safely get rid of these pests? This root aphid article will walk you through everything you need to know about how to get rid of root aphids.
What Do Aphids in Roots Look Like?
The best way to ensure that you have a root aphid problem is to verify that you’ve seen them, which is impossible unless you know what they look like.
What do root aphids look like? Root aphids are a part of the phylloxera family. They have an oblong, teardrop shape to their bodies and are around the size of a mite. These aphids have antennae and short legs, and they range from white to brown to pink.
The aphid life cycle starts as aphid eggs. After about eight to ten days, the eggs hatch into larvae or nymphs, and they begin to cluster around your plants’ root system and hide in the root ball, meaning they are in your growing medium and its debris.
Most root aphids are wingless, but some grow wings. These wings are why some people mistake them for fungus gnats and thrips. If you’re suspicious that these small pests are hanging around, there are a few approaches you can take to get rid of root aphids.
How to Get Rid of Aphids in Plant Roots
Root aphids are small and live below the soil level, so they often go unnoticed. Damage from root aphids is usually mistaken for nutrient deficiency because yellow and withered leaves are the warning signs.
Damaged, yellow leaves are generally a sign of an iron deficiency, and growers take action for that instead. In reality, they should be checking their plants and learning how to kil root aphids.
Another sign that you may have an infestation is a chalky residue called honeydew left on your plants, whether from root aphids or woolly aphids.
If you don’t act immediately, the root aphids cause irreversible damage that leaves your plants prone to powdery mildew, root rot, and other dangerous diseases.
How to Eliminate Aphids
One of the best ways to kill root aphids on tomato plants or other vegetation is to use yellow sticky traps, which are cheap at most local hardware stores. Lay a few of these across the floor of an indoor grow space.
Any bug that walks across them sticks there permanently. On top of introducing traps, make sure to check your plants and their pots periodically.
Introducing Beneficial Insects
One of the easiest ways to control root aphids and to kill aphids on hibiscus plants is to introduce beneficial insects into your gardening space. Beneficial nematodes are worm-like parasites added to the soil that are extremely popular in hydroponics.
These parasites hunt down nearly all pests and are best used before an infestation. Ladybugs are another type of insect that preys on root aphids.
However, they only eat aphids that are found high in the root zone. If you’re looking to wipe out the aphid eggs, parasitic wasps attack the eggs and kill aphids located in the soil.
There are dozens of insecticide sprays containing pyrethrum that are perfect for controlling root aphids and getting rid of aphids on pepper plants. Insecticidal soaps are better to use in the early growing season before the aphid numbers are high.
Neem oil is another spray to use in the early spring, and it acts as a feeding inhibitor. Azadirachtin is extracted from the fruit of a Neem tree and turned into an insecticide. The one downside to neem oil is that it poses a high risk to other beneficial insects.
Sprays using Beauveria bassiana, like BotaniGard and AzaMax, can be applied directly to the soil and work more long-term than other sprays. For more natural ways to keep leaf miners away and aphids off your plants, try making a homemade spray.
Use one-part hydrogen peroxide and four-parts water to fill a spray bottle. Squeeze in a few drops of citrus essential oil and shake the bottle.
Spray the solution over the soil, working your way around the root balls to perform a soil drench. Once the ground is saturated, allow the dirt to dry and repeat as necessary.
You may find that this spray will also work on white fungus on tree trunk areas. Try it on a small area first or substitute vinegar for the peroxide.
Pesticides for Aphids
Pesticides aren’t much different from insecticides. The main difference is that pesticides kill more than just insects, including fungus, bacteria, snails, and weeds. One of the hardiest pesticides to use against root aphids is imidacloprid sprays.
Plant roots absorb these sprays, so they target the same areas as the aphids. They also get rid of other problems that may be harming your plants, like mildew.
Your Last Resort
If you’re lucky, you’ll only have a few plants infested by root aphids, especially those that grow indoors. If you can’t manage the aphids, uprooting the entire plant is the most efficient way to get rid of them.
This strategy is better for the rest of the plants and saves you a lot of time and energy in the future. If you’d prefer to hire a professional, pest control is another safe option.
Root aphids destroy months of hard work if left unchecked. As soon as you identify the signs of these pests, make sure you take all precautionary measures to get rid of them.
Root aphids are some of the worst and most challenging to get rid of all the garden pests. Now that you’ve read all about killing root aphids, you’re ready to handle any problem thrown your way.
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