What do black citrus aphids look like?
These small sap-sucking insects, typically black but occasionally dark brown or green, measure just 1 to 3 millimetres. They possess a specialised mouthpart called a stylet to pierce and extract sap from leaves, green shoots, and flowers. Some have wings, an adaptation to overcrowding or environmental changes, facilitating migration to new plants.
The life cycle of black aphids typically involves a female aphid depositing on the plant's surface, hatching into nymphs that undergo several stages, and maturing into winged or wingless adults. Rapid asexual reproduction, especially during spring and summer, allows for a swift increase in aphid populations.
How to get rid of black citrus aphids
Liam recommends using Yates Nature's way citrus and ornamental spray, and neem oil to effectively control black aphids on citrus trees. "Both are organic and safe to use on citrus with black aphids and have fairly good results," he says.
How to treat a citrus tree with black aphids
Act swiftly at the first sight of black aphids on your citrus tree. Apply the citrus spray or neem oil immediately, repeating every 5 to 14 days until the infestation subsides. Liam emphasises the importance of enhancing your tree's health to fortify its defences against pests. "Clearing vegetation around the base of the tree and feeding with an organic fertiliser high in potassium as the healthier the tree, the better it can fight diseases," he says.
And for a natural touch, Liam points out that lady beetles and green lacewings are eager allies in munching on any aphids residing in your garden.
Natural aphid enemies are available for online orders, delivered conveniently in plastic containers. Release these beneficial insects onto your plants for a biological pest control method. Explore the options at Bugs for Bugs.
Preventing black aphids infestation on citrus
Prevention is always better than a cure, especially with black aphids on citrus. Here are Liam Kemp's top tips to prevent an aphid infestation on your citrus tree:
Pre-planting: Before introducing new plants, thoroughly inspect your garden for existing citrus plants affected by black aphids. Address any issues to ensure a clean environment for new additions.
Mindful fertilisation: Exercise caution with nitrogen-rich fertilisers. Over-fertilisation with nitrogen can inadvertently attract aphids, rendering the tree more susceptible. Strike a balance in fertilising practices to maintain a healthy citrus orchard.
Strategic pruning: Prune the inner branches of the tree as aphids favour this area. This targeted pruning disrupts the aphids' preferred habitat and makes the tree less desirable to them.
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