If you’ve ever had a serious root aphid infestation in your garden, you know it can be difficult to fully remove once established. These guys are tiny, about the size of a mite, and mainly hang out below the medium while they suck valuable nutrition from the root system of your plants. Occasionally, there will also be “crawlers” that wander above the medium onto the plant surface to feed.
One of the telltale signs of a root aphid infestation is the white chalky material that they secrete and leave behind on your medium. At times you may find ants accompanying the root aphids, as they are attracted to the honeydew that the Aphids leave behind. Ants can also work as helpers to the aphids, killing beneficial insects and transporting the aphids to new healthy plant victims. 🐜
Plants affected by root aphids will lack vigor; they may have curled, yellowed, or withered leaves. It often tricks people into thinking they are dealing with a nutrient deficiency such as magnesium when in reality, it is the aphids draining your plant of its valuable resources. Plants affected by root aphids will have stunted growth and will be much more susceptible to issues like mildew, root rot, and disease.
Root aphids can be quite difficult to fully kill off; using clean tools, periodically checking susceptible plants, and being vigilant will help significantly when it comes to avoiding an infestation. Also, if you use soil, be sure to check the medium for signs of pests and use high quality and reliable sources. 🌿
If you decide to keep and treat the plant, remove it from others if possible, and if using an insecticide drench, you must drench the medium very well, as the aphids hide within, around, and beneath the root ball. Also, the waxy secretion that the aphids release coats them and helps to shield them from insecticides. Once they suck up all the available nutrients from their plant host, they grow wings and fly off to mate and repeat the cycle on another plant.
Have you experienced root aphids in your garden? If so, how did you handle the situation?