Root Aphids

How To Get Rid of Root Aphids

Organic Ways To Kill Root Aphids Root aphids are damaging pests to indoor crops and are responsible for reduced plant vigor, increased incidence of plant disease and substantial crop losses in indoor and outdoor cultivation. Most common in container plantings, early detection and treatment is highly recommended for root aphids. Infestations of root aphids inhibit plant growth and they will not reach their mature size. Often mistaken for nutrient deficiencies, the damage they cause shows up as yellowing withered leaves and reduced plant vigor, and they have a severe effect on the fruiting ability of plants if left untreated. In addition to the direct effects of root aphids, their damage leaves plants vulnerable to pathogenic diseases. Flowering and fruiting plants' growth will be underdeveloped and less than optimal in quality.

Identification & Appearance:

From the Phylloxera family, root aphids are similar in size to aphids found on plant foliage and sometimes slightly smaller with an oblong shape. They inhabit the root zone of plants while feeding on plants' roots and occasionally move above ground onto plant surfaces. Their coloration varies depending on what they are feeding on and other environmental conditions, but generally appear white and brown. Winged adults are often confused with fungus gnats as they inhabit similar environments and take off when agitated. A telltale sign that you have root aphids is the chalky honeydew root aphids secrete that builds up on top of and throughout the potting media.

How To Control Root Aphids: Controlling root aphids begins with careful monitoring and is most effective when a mixture of control methods are used. While systemic insecticides may be suitable, there are few organic systemic treatments and extreme caution should be taken when using systemic insecticides on consumable crops.

  • Growing Mediums should be selected carefully. Take care to avoid commercial soil mixes/compost and inspect what you use when planting. Inspect for pest eggs, larvae, and/or adults. Locally sourced, high quality soil mediums or homemade compost can make it easy to control inputs into production.
  • Beauveria bassiana is a fungus used as a biocontrol for soft-bodied insects (aphids, thrips, whiteflies, etc.). BotaniGard 22WP contains B. bassiana spores and poses less risk of phytotoxicity than liquid formulations. It is the closest thing to a "root aphid killer".
  • Sf/Hb Nematode Combo interrupts root aphid reproductions cycles – slowing population growth and controlling them over time. Nematodes will also help spread B. bassiana spores in the soil after a BotaniGard treatment.
  • Azadirachtin serves as a growth regulator and feeding inhibitor and can be applied as a soil drench when treating a root aphid infestation. Alternating spray treatments between azadirachtin and B. bassiana for extended periods is optimal. Azera Gardening combines this neem extract with pyrethrins for a potent punch.
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