Crepe myrtle aphids, also known as Tinocallis kahawaluokalani, are common pests that can cause significant damage to crepe myrtle trees and shrubs.
These aphids feed on the plant sap, causing leaves to curl and turn yellow and reducing the plant’s ability to grow and thrive. If left untreated, crepe myrtle aphids can weaken the plant, making it more susceptible to other diseases and pests.
Identifying and controlling crepe myrtle aphids is crucial for the health and beauty of your landscape. In this article, we’ll discuss natural and chemical solutions for killing crepe myrtle aphids so that you can choose the best method for your needs.
Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, this guide will provide the knowledge you need to protect your crepe myrtle trees and shrubs from aphids.
What are crepe myrtle aphids?
Crepe myrtle aphids are small insects, typically less than 1/8 inch in length, that feed on the sap of crepe myrtle trees. They are usually light green or yellow and have long legs and antennae.
The life cycle of crepe myrtle aphids begins with eggs laid in the fall and overwintering on the tree. In the spring, the eggs hatch into wingless nymphs that feed on the tree sap. These nymphs then molt into winged adults that mate and lay eggs to start the next generation.
The damage caused by crepe myrtle aphids is often seen in tree leaves. They cause leaves to curl and turn yellow, reducing the plant’s health. If left untreated, they can also cause stunted growth and reduced blooms. Crepe myrtle aphids can also attract other pests, such as ants, which can further damage the tree.
Signs or symptoms of aphids on crepe myrtle
Here are some signs and symptoms of aphids on crepe myrtle:
- Sticky residue: One of the most common signs of aphids on crepe myrtle is the presence of a sticky residue on the leaves, branches, and trunk of the tree. This sticky substance, honeydew, is produced by aphids as they feed on the tree sap.
- Curling or distortion of leaves: Aphids can cause the leaves of crepe myrtle trees to curl or become distorted. This can happen due to the feeding damage they cause to the leaves.
- Stunted growth: If a crepe myrtle tree is infested with aphids, it may experience stunted growth. This can happen due to the damage caused by feeding the aphids, which can weaken the tree and limit its ability to grow.
- Discoloration of leaves: Aphids can also cause discoloration of the leaves on crepe myrtle trees. The leaves may turn yellow, brown, or black due to the feeding damage caused by the aphids.
- Presence of aphids: Finally, the presence of aphids is a clear sign of an infestation on crepe myrtle trees. Aphids are small, pear-shaped insects found on the tree’s leaves, branches, and trunks. Depending on the species, they may be green, yellow, or brown.
Crepe myrtle Aphids diseases pictures
Natural methods for controlling crepe myrtle aphids
Controlling crepe myrtle aphids naturally can be an effective and environmentally friendly way to protect your trees. Here are some natural methods you can use to control these pests:
One effective way to control crepe myrtle aphids is to prune affected areas of the tree. This can remove infested leaves and stems and prevent the spread of the infestation. Inspect your tree regularly for signs of aphid damage, and prune any branches that are heavily infested.
Be sure to prune the branches correctly, making a clean cut just above the next healthy bud. It’s best to prune affected areas early in the season before the aphids can spread. This will help prevent the spread of the aphids to other parts of the tree.
Ladybugs and other natural predators:
Another natural method for controlling crepe myrtle aphids is introducing ladybugs or other natural predators to your garden. Ladybugs and other natural predators can be used to control crepe myrtle aphids.
These predators feed on the aphids and can help to reduce their populations. You can purchase ladybugs and release them onto your tree or attract natural predators by planting flowers that attract beneficial insects.
Soap and water sprays:
Soap and water spray are simple and effective natural solutions for controlling crepe myrtle aphids. Mix a few drops of dish soap with water in a spray bottle, and apply the solution directly to the aphids.
Spray the affected areas of the tree and the undersides of leaves to control the infestation. The soap will suffocate the aphids, causing them to die. Be sure to rinse the tree with water after applying the solution to prevent damage to the leaves.
Neem oil sprays:
Another natural solution for controlling crepe myrtle aphids is neem oil spray. Neem oil is a natural insecticide that can be effective against aphids.
Mix neem oil with water according to the instructions on the bottle, and spray the solution directly onto the aphids. Be sure to spray the entire tree, including the undersides of the leaves, to ensure that all of the aphids are exposed to the solution.
These natural methods can effectively control crepe myrtle aphids without harming the environment. However, if these methods don’t work or the infestation is severe, you may need to resort to chemical solutions.
Chemical methods for controlling crepe myrtle aphids
While natural methods can effectively control crepe myrtle aphids, a more aggressive approach is sometimes needed. Chemical methods can be used to control aphids, but it’s important to use them carefully and follow the instructions on the label.
Here are some chemical options you can use to control crepe myrtle aphids:
Insecticidal soaps are contact insecticides that can effectively control crepe myrtle aphids. These soaps work by disrupting the outer membrane of the aphids, causing them to dehydrate and die. They are safe for most plants and animals, but following the instructions carefully is important.
Systemic insecticides are another option for controlling crepe myrtle aphids. The tree absorbs these insecticides and kills the aphids when they feed on the sap.
Systemic insecticides can effectively control severe infestations but should be used cautiously, as they can harm beneficial insects and other wildlife. Systemic insecticides can be applied as a soil drench or sprayed directly onto the tree.
Contact insecticides, such as pyrethroids, can effectively control crepe myrtle aphids. These insecticides work by killing the aphids on contact and can provide quick results. However, they can also harm beneficial insects and other wildlife, so using them cautiously is important.
When using chemical solutions to control crepe myrtle aphids, it’s important to follow the instructions carefully and use them only as a last resort. Wear protective clothing and keep children and pets away from the area while applying the chemicals. Before using any chemical methods, consider using natural methods or seeking the advice of a professional arborist.
Best fungicide for crepe myrtle
If you’re looking for the best fungicide for crepe myrtle, there are several options to consider. Here are three top picks:
Southern Ag Liquid Copper Fungicide
This copper-based fungicide is a popular choice for controlling fungal diseases on various plants, including crepe myrtle. It contains copper octanoate, a broad-spectrum fungicide that can help prevent and control diseases such as leaf spots, powdery mildew, and rust.
It can be applied as a spray to the foliage and can also be used as a soil drench. This fungicide is easy to mix and apply and safe for most ornamental plants. Southern Ag Liquid Copper Fungicide is also relatively affordable and can be found at many garden centers and online retailers.
Monterey LG3190 Liqui-Cop Copper Garden Spray
Another copper-based fungicide, Monterey LG3190 Liqui-Cop Copper Garden Spray Fungicide, is another effective option for preventing and controlling fungal diseases on crepe myrtle trees.
It contains copper sulfate pentahydrate, a powerful fungicide that can help protect plants against diseases such as black spots, downy mildew, and botrytis blight. This fungicide can be applied as a spray to the foliage and can also be used as a soil drench. It is easy to mix and apply and safe for most plants.
Garden Safe Brand Fungicide3
Garden Safe Brand Fungicide3 is popular for controlling fungal diseases on crepe myrtle trees. It contains sulfur and pyrethrins, natural compounds that can help prevent and control diseases such as powdery mildew, black spot, and rust.
This fungicide can be applied as a spray to foliage and is safe for most ornamental plants. It is also easy to mix and apply and can be used as a preventative measure or to control an existing fungal infection. It’s available at many garden centers and online retailers.
When using any fungicide, following the instructions on the label carefully and wearing appropriate protective gear, such as gloves and a face mask, is important.
Additionally, it is important to identify the specific fungal disease affecting your crepe myrtle tree to ensure that you are using the most appropriate fungicide for your needs. If you need help deciding which fungicide to use, consult a local arborist or horticulturist for expert advice.
Other tips for controlling crepe myrtle aphids
In addition to natural and chemical methods, there are some additional tips you can follow to control crepe myrtle aphids:
Preventative measures can help to control crepe myrtle aphids before they become a problem. One way to prevent aphids from infesting your tree is to keep it healthy and well-maintained. This includes watering and fertilizing the tree regularly and keeping it pruned.
Timing of Treatments:
Timing is an important factor when treating crepe myrtle aphids. Treating the tree early in the season before the aphids can establish a large population is best. Treating the tree at the first sign of an infestation can also help prevent the aphids’ spread.
Consistency in Treatment:
Consistency is key when treating crepe myrtle aphids. It’s important to follow a regular treatment schedule and continue treatments until the infestation is under control. This can help to prevent the aphids from re-establishing themselves on the tree.
By following these tips and using natural and chemical methods, you can effectively control crepe myrtle aphids and protect your tree from damage.
FAQs About Crepe Myrtle Aphids
How can I tell if my crepe myrtle has aphids?
Aphids can be difficult to spot because they are small and often congregate on the undersides of leaves. Look for clusters of small, pear-shaped insects that may be white, green, or pink.
Will crepe myrtle aphids harm other plants?
While crepe myrtle aphids are primarily a problem for crepe myrtle trees, they can also infest other plants. They may cause damage to other plants, but this is rare.
Are crepe myrtle aphids harmful to humans or pets?
Crepe myrtle aphids are not harmful to humans or pets. They are primarily a nuisance to plants and can cause damage if left untreated.
Can I use essential oils to control crepe myrtle aphids?
Essential oils can effectively control aphids, but their efficacy can vary. It’s important to research which essential oils are effective against aphids and how to apply them properly.
How often should I treat my crepe myrtle for aphids?
The frequency of treatment will depend on the severity of the infestation and the method used for treatment. It’s important to follow the instructions on the label and to continue treatments until the infestation is under control.
Crepe myrtle aphids can be a serious problem for your tree if left untreated. Identifying and controlling these pests is important before they can cause significant damage.
Natural methods like pruning, ladybugs, soap and water sprays, and neem oil sprays can effectively control aphids, as can chemical methods like insecticidal soaps, systemic insecticides, and contact insecticides.
Additional tips like preventative measures, treatment timing, and treatment consistency can also help control crepe myrtle aphids.
Controlling crepe myrtle aphids requires a combination of natural and chemical methods and consistent treatment and preventative measures. Following the tips outlined in this article, you can effectively control crepe myrtle aphids and protect your tree from damage.