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August 26, 2017
I have a young Rose of Sharon, variegated, that has ants all over new blooms. Can
I spray it with something or is there nothing to be concerned about?
I bet you have a lot of aphids as well. Aphids give off a very sweet substance called
honeydew which ants are attracted to. Occasionally, ants will even be “aphid ranchers”
and manage the aphid population. A strong spray of water or insecticidal soap should
do the trick.
June 20, 2017
How can I control aphids on okra plants when temperatures reach 90 degrees F or higher?
Luckily for us, aphids are poor swimmers so a strong spray of water can knock them
down. Insecticidal soap also works. If the temperatures are above 90 degrees, make
sure you water the plants well before spraying anything, and then spray later in the
day when the temperatures have cooled off. If the plants are too dry they can take
up too much of the pesticide (or fertilizer) and get burned.
June 1, 2017
My tomatoes are literally covered with what I have been told are plant lice. The
tips of the plants are solid with these insects. I am not a big fan of pesticides,
but something has to be done. I tried using some Sevin dust, but nothing happened.
What is the best approach to killing them? I am not close to harvesting, so that
shouldn’t be a concern.
Aphids are out there in large numbers this year, so you aren’t alone in this problem.
If you see no ladybugs working on these insects, you can use several different insecticides,
but even a strong spray of water can knock them down. Sevin (Carbaryl) insecticide
is used for chewing insects, not the sucking insects, so would be ineffective on aphids.
Insecticidal soap is quite effective. Aphids reproduce rapidly, so you will need to
take care of it quickly before they take over. If the tips are thoroughly infested
you might cut them off and dispose of them, then spray down with water and see what
happens. Monitor frequently.
Can you please tell me what cause the white oak trees to be scaly looking and their
leafs sickly looking? Also, we have 5 white oaks on our property that were invaded
by something... we thought aphids; which caused snow-like particles and also sticky
residue to cover everything near the trees. The trees look sickly. They have dropped
their leaves and billions of acorns. What gives?
My guess would be aphids—but maybe some spider mites too. The sticky residue you mention
is honeydew droppings from the aphids. White wooly aphids can also look almost like
snow falling. The sticky substance can cover car windshields, patio furniture and
even plants beneath the tree. If left for long, a black sooty mold forms on the honeydew.
Aphids suck sap out of the leaves and spider mites also withdraw fluids and leave
a chlorotic looking leaf. I would not be concerned with either problem as long as
it happens late in the season. If you had damage very early, this could impact the
overall health of the tree if it happened year after year. Late in the season, the
leaves have pretty much completed their job and the trees health will not be impacted.
Since they have good acorn production, it sounds like they are healthy. Dry weather
late in the season tends to incur larger populations as rain can often clear the insects
off the leaves.
I need some info concerning a crepe myrtle plant. It came with the house 8 years
ago and was then a well established plant that has bloomed beautiful every summer.
A couple of days ago I noticed that the blossoms were not as dark pink as in previous
years and upon further inspection I noticed that the leaves of the whole plant were
sticky. I had never seen this on this plant in previous years and am now worried about
what to use to treat it with. I did spray the whole plant with Sevin bug spray but
don't know how to proceed.
It looks to me like you have a heavy infestation of aphids. As these sucking insects
feed, they give off a very sticky substance called honeydew—that is what is causing
the sticky, shiny substance on the leaves. Left long enough, the sticky honeydew will
turn black as black sooty mold begins to form. Sevin is not a good insecticide for
sucking insects. You can use a contact insecticide such as insecticidal soap or Malathion
or Orthene which is a systemic. Even a strong spray of water can dislodge them. Aphids
multiply rapidly in ideal conditions and can quickly explode in populations
I just got a new car and I park under a neighbors oak tree. The tree seems to rain
a fine mist of sap during the day, seems more so when it is sunny. Is this possible,
and if so, how long does this happen? I guess I have never noticed on other cars I
have owned. When I have searched online I see info about honeydew aphid infestation?
If so how is this treated?
It is honeydew from aphids. They build up quickly, especially when it is dry. It
doesn’t really hurt the tree, but it can be a nuisance on car windshields and patio
furniture. The honeydew is the droppings form the aphids as they feed. It is extremely
sticky, and if allowed to stay on the surface of leaves, cars, etc. it can eventually
form a black sooty mold. Try spraying the lower limbs of the tree with a strong spray
of water periodically. Aphids are poor swimmers and you can control the insects at
the base of the tree. Unfortunately, they multiply prolifically, so it must be repeated.
There are insecticides as well, but for a large tree, they too would need to be repeated,
so the water works almost as well.
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