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Caption: Black cherry aphid damage
Photo by: A.L. Antonelli
Ornamental Cherry : Aphids
(revision date: 3/22/2021)

Several aphids attack flowering cherries, including the black cherry aphid. Black cherry aphids are small black insects which typically feed on the new growth, causing the expanding leaves to curl and distort and tip growth to be reduced. These and other aphids produce large amounts of honeydew, a sweet, sticky material excreted by the insects during feeding. The honeydew may attract ants or become covered with a dark growth of sooty mold.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Wash aphids from plants with a strong stream of water.
  • Remove aphids by hand (when practical) to control small infestations.
  • Natural predators and parasites, including ladybird beetles, lacewings, and parasitic wasps, help control aphid populations.
  • Control honeydew-feeding ants, which may protect aphid colonies.
  • Provide proper nutrition. High levels of nitrogen in the foliage encourage aphid reproduction. Switch to a slow-release or low-nitrogen fertilizer.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Thorough coverage of the foliage is important, including lower leaf surfaces (follow label instructions for products applied as a drench). Apply one of the following when aphid buildup is noticed! Use oils at delayed dormant stage, when buds just begin to swell. Homeowners should not make foliar applications to trees over 10 ft tall. Consult a commercial pesticide applicator for treatment of trees and shrubs over 10 ft. tall.

Listed below are examples of pesticides that are legal in Washington. Always read and follow all label directions.
  • Hi-Yield Dormant Spray
    Active ingredient: oil/pet distillate  |  EPA reg no: 7401-428
  • Safer Brand BioNEEM Multi-Purpose Insecticide & Repellent Conc [Organic]
    Active ingredient: azadirachtin  |  EPA reg no: 70051-6-42697
  • Safer Brand Insect Killing Soap Conc II [Organic]
    Active ingredient: potassium salts of fatty acid  |  EPA reg no: 42697-60
  • This list may not include all products registered for this use.

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Caption: Black cherry aphid damage
Photo by: A.L. Antonelli
Caption: Black cherry aphids
Photo by: R.S. Byther