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Aphids - small pests which feed on new succulent shoots and young plant leaves

Aphid Damage on young plant leaves and shoots

Photos courtesy of Larry Costello PhD - University of California


Aphids (Phylum Arthropoda) are small, soft-bodied insects. There are hundreds of species of aphids, some of which attack only one host plant, others attacking numerous hosts. Most aphids are about 1/10th of an inch long and found in many colors. Aphids feed in clusters and generally prefer new, succulent shoots or young leaves. Some species, known as wooly aphids, are covered with white, waxy filaments which they produce from special glands.

Certain ants sometimes protect colonies of aphids. The ants gather aphids or their eggs and keep them through the winter in their nests. In spring, the ants transport these aphids to food plants where they protect them from enemies and at intervals transport them to new plants. For payment, the ants collect honeydew, a sweet sticky substance that aphids secrete as a waste product.


Aphids feed by sucking up plant juices while they inject saliva into the host. Light infestations are usually not harmful to plants, but higher infestations may result in leaf curl, wilting, stunted shoot growth, delay in production of flowers and fruit, and general decline in plant vigor. Some aphids are also important vectors of plant disease, transmitting pathogens in the feeding process.

A sticky glaze of honeydew may collect on lower leaves, outdoor furniture, cars, and other objects below the aphid feeding sites. Coated with honeydew, objects soon become covered by one or more brown fungi known as sooty molds. Crusts of sooty mold are unsightly on man-made objects and can interfere with hotosynthesis in leaves.

Arborwell Tree Management's Wellness Approach

Species commonly affected: Rose, Tulip Trees, Ash and Oak

Arborwell’s Wellness technician will inspect for Aphids and may apply horticultural oil or soap to the infected species. Soaps and oils are most effective when large numbers of overwintering eggs are detected. Soil injections for systemic control are also applied in late winter and early spring.

Contact Us
To speak with an Arborwell Wellness Specialist, please call 888-969-8733. Our team of certified arborists are ready to help with all your arboricultural needs.

Pruning & Removals are not part of the Wellness programs.

Download a PDF about Aphids

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