Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that typically feed near the tip of growing shoots. Their feeding may deform leaves (curling, distortion) and stunt terminal growth. Aphids range in size up to 1/8″ long and often produce honeydew, a sweet sticky material. The honeydew may develop a growth of black sooty mold, which is an aesthetic problem but seldom harms the plant. It may also attract honeydew-feeding ants.
Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful plant problem management.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!
- Control honeydew-feeding ants, which may protect aphid colonies from predators.
- Encourage natural predators including ladybird beetles, lacewings, syrphid (hover) fly larvae, and parasitic wasps. Avoid use of broad-spectrum insecticides which kill these beneficial insects.
- Hand-wipe or prune to control small, localized infestations when practical.
- Provide proper nutrition. High levels of nitrogen in the foliage encourage aphid reproduction. Switch to a slow-release or low-nitrogen fertilizer.
- Wash aphids from foliage with a strong stream of water.
IMPORTANT: Visit Home and Garden Fact Sheets for more information on using pesticides.
- Apply when aphids or damage is first noticed.
- 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.