Aphids are common pests on crepe myrtles, especially in spring and summer when the trees are actively growing.
Crepe myrtles are attractive to aphids due to their sweet sap, and these insects can cause damage to the leaves and shoots of the tree if their populations are not controlled.
Read on to learn how to get rid of aphids on crepe myrtles.
What Kills Crepe Myrtle Aphids?
Insecticidal soap kills crepe myrtle aphids. Make insecticidal soap by mixing 3 teaspoons of liquid dishwashing soap with 1 quart of water. Other treatments include Neem oil, Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Powder, Alcoholic Spray, Baking Soda, and Foliar Spray.
Insecticidal Soap: Aphids are soft-bodied insects. Using a low-toxicity pest control to kill them is a better solution. Insecticidal soap is such a pest control solution without creating damage to your tree.
- Take a few teaspoons of liquid dishwashing soap and one quart of water in a bottle or bucket to make the insecticidal soap at home. Mix them properly.
- Then pour the mixture into a sprayer. Spray well onto the leaves, blooms, and stems of the affected plant.
- If you don’t have a sprayer, you can use a bucket also. When you consider using a bucket, you can’t spray. Wipe away the infested area with a washcloth to kill aphids.
Apply Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Powder: Diatomaceous Earth is like a magic powder with multipurpose uses quality. This non-toxic organic material kills aphids. Its looks like chalk powder. DE is easy to purchase and not so expensive.
- Firstly, take some Diatomaceous Earth and water in a container. Shake them well to dissolve the powder in the water. Not make the mixture too much diluted.
- When the mixture is ready, pour it into a sprayer. Spray the upper and lower sides of infected crepe myrtle leaves.
- Once it evaporates, it starts working. It can take 2-3 hours to evaporate the water and leave a powder mark.
- Whenever aphids or other insects try to get food on leaves, the powder mark enters into their bodies and absorbs all their vital body fat and oil. As a result, aphids die of dehydration.
- Don’t apply it in the rainy season. It doesn’t work at all in that season.
Alcoholic Spray: Alcoholic spray is also a good home remedy to kill aphids.
- Take 5 cups of water, one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid, and 2 cups of alcohol to make the spray.
- Mix them thoroughly.
- Then pour the alcoholic spray into a spray bottle.
- Apply it on crepe myrtle leaves. This spray creates a suffocating situation for aphid and kills them.
Baking Soda: You can make a safe pesticide spray by using baking soda to kill aphids and others harmful bugs.
- Take a cup of water and 2 teaspoons of baking soda in a bottle.
- Make a good mixture.
- Pour the mixture into a sprayer.
- Spray it onto the leaves of your tree.
Foliar Sprays: Foliar sprays kill aphids. If you do not apply these sprays properly, it can hurt favorable insects.
However, plant health care specialists and arborists thoroughly follow the integrated pest management protocol. This protocol uses all the methods that help to target the definite harmful bugs and protect a better part of beneficial insects.
Also Read: Can Fertilizer Spikes Kill Trees?
How to Get Rid of Aphids on Crepe Myrtle
If you get an attack of aphids on your crepe myrtle, the plant stops growing properly. To get rid of this insect and to stop arising problems, read our instructions and follow them –
Avoid Over-fertilizing: Whenever trees have too much nitrogen, aphids tend to be more harmful. Stop over-fertilizing on your crepe myrtle tree to control aphids attack.
Avoid Overwatering: Aphids or other insects can’t attack a healthy tree easily. Take proper care of your plant and provide sufficient water. But overwatering harms your plant. Avoid it.
Check Soil Fertility and Drainage: If soil fertility and drainage system are not good enough, aphids can attack and breed fast on crepe myrtle. Proper drainage system and soil fertility are required to get a healthy plant and keep free your tree from aphids.
Organic Control: There are many natural enemies of aphids such as lady beetles, lacewing larvae, and certain types of fungi that help to reduce the overpopulation of these pests. Moreover, this is a great solution for those who don’t want to use chemicals in their garden or yard but desire to remove the insects.
Avoid Spraying Broad-spectrum Insecticides: Broad-spectrum insecticide is a powerful pesticide that kills beneficial insects (known as aphids’ natural enemies). As a result, a large number of helpful insects can be killed. On the other hand, the harmful aphids can be increased gradually to damage your tree. Try to avoid spraying this pesticide.
Apply Insecticidal Soaps, Neem or Other Horticultural Oil Sprays: Consider applying insecticidal soaps, Neem oil, or other horticultural oils for pest control. You do need a pump sprayer to do this job. Spray at the underside of leaves where most of the aphids stay for their feed.
After applying the horticultural oil and once they get dry, there is no remaining that can harm the beneficial pests. If the insecticides don’t contact the insects directly, they can’t be able to kill the harmful aphids.
Hit Them with Water Jet Spray: Aphids give birth to wingless young. You can use a jet spray of water to knock them out. As most of the aphids are wingless, when you hit them with enough blasts of water, they can’t be able to get back onto the plant. As a result, they can’t make food and eventually die of food shortage.
Note: Whenever you apply any pesticides, check the label and follow the instructions. It helps you to reduce the harm of the Crepe Myrtle tree.
Home Remedy for Aphids on Crepe Myrtles
You can apply home remedy tricks to deal with aphids of crepe myrtles. There are several home remedies for aphids and they are quite effective. Take a look –
Molasses Solution: You may know the aphids or other insects can’t release gas. So, when they take gas, it creates such an explosive situation. Unluckily sugar creates gas for the insects and it’s like poison for them.
- Take 2 ounces of molasses and 1 gallon of water. Dissolve them well.
- Then spray onto your plant leaves. That is because aphids attack on leaves of the tree.
- The smell of molasses attracts the aphids and other insects also. Whenever aphids try to eat the leaves, it supplies poison in place of food. As a result, aphids die.
Treat with Neem Oil Spray: Homemade Neem spray is more effective than commercial one. It’s one of the most powerful organic solutions and easy formula to make.
- Firstly, make the oil from the leaves and seed of the Neem tree. You can also purchase organic Neem oil.
- Take a liter of warm water and 1/3 teaspoon of mild detergent or soap.
- Mix them well in a bottle or container. Try to shake them properly so that the soap or detergent is dissolved in a right way.
- Now time to add some Neem oil. Take a teaspoon of Neem oil. Shake again.
- Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and spray it on your tree.
- You can apply the Neem oil once a week to get a good result. Avoid spraying under direct sunlight and too much hot or cold temperature.
Apply Soapy Water: You can remove aphids by applying soapy water.
- Take a certain amount of water and a few drops of liquid dish soaps in a spray bottle. Mix them well.
- Spray onto the upper and lower side of your plant leaves. It kills the aphids without damaging your tree.
- Consider applying it 1-2 times in every week.
- Cut up banana peels and bury them in the soil around the plant where aphids can attack.
- The depth should be 1 or 2 inches.
Why Do My Crepe Myrtles Get Aphids?
Crepe myrtles get aphids from increased nitrogen, overwatering, using broad-spectrum insecticide, bad drainage, and killing beneficial insects
What Are Signs of Aphids on Crepe Myrtle Trees?
Signs of aphids on crepe myrtle trees include black dots on the underside of leaves, yellow spots, dropping leaves, sooty mold, honeydew, and groups of ants.