Have you recently noticed some tiny yellow bugs on the plants in your garden. If that is the case, you are probably dealing with an aphid infestation.
Aphids are tiny pests which are commonly found in gardens. These bugs are highly adaptable and can survive in almost any environment. They are also able to multiply very quickly, which is why it is vital to control them before they can begin reproducing.
Fortunately, these tiny yellow bugs tend to spread slowly compared to other garden pests. This makes it easier to control them.
Appearance of Tiny Yellow Bugs or Aphids
Knowing how to correctly identify aphids is very vital when it comes to control these pests. They are typically very tiny in size, with adult aphids measuring less than ⅛ inch in size.
This can make it quite difficult to see single bugs with the naked eye. While most species of aphids are yellow in color, some may have a wide array of colors ranging from white, light green and pink to dark grey and black.
These bugs generally have pear-shaped bodies with long antennae projecting from the top of their heads. The nymphs typically look identical to adults although they are much smaller in size. Some species of aphids also have two short tubes known as cornice projecting from their rears ends.
While adult aphids are typically wingless, some species are able to mutate into a winged form when populations become too crowded in their colonies. This allows the bugs to travel to other plants, reproduce, and start a new colony when food becomes scarce or the quality of food is decreased.
Generally aphids feed in large groups or colonies. However, it is also possible to find them in small numbers or as individuals.
Are Tiny Yellow Aphids Harmful for Plants?
Yellow aphids usually suck sap from plant tissues using their mouthparts that are well adapted to piercing and sucking. . Some species of aphids feed on plant leaves, while others feed on the branches, flowers, fruits or roots of. Most species of aphids also produce toxic salivary secretions which they inject into plants as they feed
If left uncontrolled, yellow bugs can cause significant damage or even death of the affected plants. Aphid attacks on plants usually lead to stunted plant growth, deformation and discoloration of foliage and fruit and formation of galls on leaves, stems, and roots.
Some species of aphids also excrete a sticky substance called “honeydew,” which covers the leaves and other parts of the plant. This can lead to the growth of a fungus known as “sooty mold” on the plant.
When a plant is infested by sooty mold, the leaves become covered by a black coating which makes it difficult for sunlight to reach the leaf surface. This restricts photosynthesis which is the process through which plants manufacture essential sugars.
Some species of aphids are also vectors of numerous plant diseases that are virus-related. The cotton aphid, for instance, has been found to transmit over 50 plant viruses.
Aphids are known to reproduce faster than any other insect. A single aphid can produce tens of thousands of descendants in a matter of weeks. This makes them potentially more damaging to plants than other common garden pests such as weevils and caterpillars.
For this reason,it is necessary to control an aphid infestation as soon as you notice the presence of these pests.
7 Remedies to Kill Tiny Yellow Bugs (Aphids)
There are various methods that you can employ to deal with an aphid infestation and completely eradicate the tiny yellow bugs.
The efficiency and success rate of each method depends on a host of factors including the species of the aphid and the size of the colony. Let us now look at some of the remedies you can use to kill these tiny yellow bugs.
1. Physical Removal
One of the simplest remedies for yellow bugs is physical removal from the plants. This entails rubbing the bugs off the plants using your fingers or a wet piece of cloth.
This control method is usually very effective against small colonies and at the very early stages of infestation. However, if you are dealing with a large infestation, this remedy may not be very useful.
2. Water Pressure
Applying water pressure on affected plants is another effective way of controlling an aphid infestation. This method usually works best when dealing with small to medium-sized colonies of aphids.
Typically, you will need a water hose and nozzle with enough pressure to dislodge the aphids from the plant’s leaves without causing any damage to the plant. Once the pests have been ejected from the foliage, they will be unable to climb back up the plant and likely starve to death.
3. Soapy Water
Soapy water is without a doubt one of the best home remedies for aphid control. In some cases, this method even works better than commercial insecticides. In order to use soapy water to eliminate aphids, put to teaspoons of dish soap in a large spray bottle and fill it with water.
Mix the solution thoroughly by shaking and use the solution to spray on your affected plants. Make sure you spray on both sides of the leaves to get rid of all the yellow bugs.
4. Neem Oil
Essentially, Neem oil interferes with the insects’ hormone systems which makes them unable to grow or lay eggs. In addition to this, it acts as a repellent for these pests, thereby reducing feeding.
Here are the instructions on how to use Neem oil to get rid of yellow bugs. First, mix the product with water in a spray bottle at a rate of 2 tablespoons of Neem oil per gallon of water.
Next, shake the solution thoroughly to ensure it is properly mixed. Spray the solution on plant leaves until they are completely soaked.
5. Garlic & Onions
Intercropping is another highly effective and organic method of controlling aphids in your garden. Studies have shown that in cases where garlic and onions are planted together with other crops, the rate of an aphid infestation is much lower than in single-cropped gardens. This is attributed to the repellent properties that onions and garlic have on these yellow bugs.
6. Isopropyl Alcohol
One of the most affordable and safe remedies for controlling yellow bugs is using isopropyl alcohol. This remedy can help you eradicate aphids from your garden without causing any damage to your plants.
To accomplish this, you need to pour some isopropyl alcohol into a spray bottle. Dilute the alcohol with a little water if you are worried about its concentration.
Spray the solution on the leaves where the pests appear to be most concentrated and allow it to dry. Repeat this process twice or thrice every week for about four weeks.
7. Predator Insects
There are many insects, including yellow aphids, which are harmful to a garden. However, there are few really beneficial insects, that will control and reduce the population of aphids and other pests.
Ladybugs or mantis are really effective in consuming aphids. If the tiny yellow bug infestation is very advanced, a few mantis or ladybugs will not be able to get rid of them, but at early phase they will greatly reduce the number of aphids.
Here is a really interesting video of a praying mantis, which feeds on tiny yellow bugs:
How to Prevent Aphids Infestation?
When it comes to the control of destructive pests such as aphids, prevention is always better than cure. Although these bugs are fairly easy to manage, their quick reproduction rate means that they can do a lot of damage in a very short amount of time.
For this reason it is absolutely important that you take the necessary preventative measures to keep them at bay.
Since aphids tend to attack weeds in addition to other crops, you need to clear out any weeds in your garden regularly to prevent the reproduction and dispersion of aphids. It is also good practice to clear out all plant remnants after a harvest to starve any aphids which may be present in your garden.
Another way to prevent aphid attacks on your garden is by introducing biological agents that feed on these bugs. Some of the natural enemies of aphids, include, ladybugs , lacewings, syrphid flies and parasitic wasps.
These insects can help control aphid populations and prevent them from causing damage to your leafy vegetables. You can also grow ‘companion crops’ such as alyssums which help conserve and support the populations of natural enemies of aphids. This will go a long way in keeping aphids from attacking and destroying your crops.
Yellow bugs or aphids are arguably some of the most feared garden pests by farmers. These tiny wingless insects are known to suck the plasma from plant tissues, thereby depriving them of much needed nutrients.
The speedy reproduction rates of aphids makes these bugs highly destructive since they are able to grow into large colonies in very short amounts of time.
For this reason, it is absolutely important to take the necessary steps to prevent them from infesting your garden. If you discover that there are aphids already lodged in your plants, you will need to act fast to get this problem contained and ensure that your plants do not become damaged.
The seven remedies we have discussed in this post are not only very effective at controlling aphid infestation but also very affordable. Which is why I would highly recommend using them to get rid of aphids from your garden completely.