Aphid Problem Solved

Note about aphids… this may be part of another thread but anyway…
I had a massive aphid problem on sweet cherry trees. I did some reading and found that aphids are herded by ants in the spring from underground chambers (and brought back there in the fall ! ) and brought out to the ends of branches to suck juices, whereupon the ants suck the aphids butts (at night) to get the sweet juice. Have to keep the ants out of the trees. I use a nylon sock pinned a couple feet above the ground with tangle foot smeared on it. The tree reinvigorates visibly afterwards within a week. The damn ants build grass piece bridges over the tangle foot so you have to inspect regularly. Have to reapply tangle foot end of every winter.


Good job! So far they are staying away from my cherry trees.

Some Aphids can form wings though.Hopefully,that species can’t. Brady

Yep Tanglefoot is your friend. In a pinch you can use Vaseline. What I do is take a strip of corrugated cardboard and wrap tightly around the trunk, then wrap with electrical tape, then apply the tanglefoot to the strip. I’ve only seen aphids on trees b/c the ants put them there.

My experience is that the aphids show up and then the ants. Aphids have winged forms that spread from plant to plant or much longer distances. I’m sure ants defend their food source. But to believe that ants over winter the aphids I’d have to see scientific proof.

Many over winter as eggs. UC Davis talks about ants as I briefly outlined above but nothing I see about over wintering them in ant nests.



I wondered how they always find my plants! (knocking on my wooden head) so far I’m good. I only have a problem with them indoors. Outdoors the beneficial insects remove them so fast, i never see them. OK, once on a pepper plant from a big box store. Since I grow them from seed now, never see them. They seem to love pepper plants. I have none this year, and might explain everything.
I don’t have a problem on trees at all, of course I spray my trees for PC, and other issues, so I would never see aphids anyway.
Here yellowjackets are on cherries as they have those sugar glads. The ants will have to fight them off. I don’t care as they come long after harvest.

I don’t know about the overwintering — but I definitely see the ants carrying up little aphid eggs.

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“some species of ants “farm” aphids, protecting them and eating the honeydew released by the aphids. This is a “mutualistic relationship”. The ants “milk” the aphids by rubbing them with their antennae. Aphids are moved to new plants and unaffected areas rapidly by ants as they grow their herd.
Some farming ants store aphid eggs in their nests over the winter and deliver them back to the plant in spring for the next harvest. Some manage “herds” of aphids in the soil and graze them on the plant roots growing through colony. Queen ants leaving to start a new colony might take an aphid egg to start a new herd for her new colony. These farming ants actively fight off aphid predators.”


did you know lady bugs eat aphids? I was thinking of ordering some on amazon next to nothing for price.

so these ant are pretty much just aphid herders…amazing how nature does that…

I used tanglefoot, and dormant spray before budding (only in spring maybe I should have also done it late fall)
And i have a terrible aphid problem on my Stanley and Italian plum trees.
I’ve sprayed combination neem oil and castille soap, with a touch of sevin…(1/4 gallon water three tablespoons neem oil three tablespoons Castile soap one teaspoon sevin)…a little bit effective if a direct hit.
I think high pressure water is going to be my best solution…blast them from under leaves, then blast everywhere else.
Any helpful ideas?


I cannot get tanglefoot in France! If anyone is coming to visit, please bring a jar. Only my two apples and a few areas on my citrus have black aphids. I could hose off the green ones from tomato plants at home but these black aphids are serious infestors! They are about two or three deep and are contorting the leaves on my two apple trees. I do not want to use a soap and water mixtures as i have had bad luck with that combo in the past and leaves yellowed, died and fell off. I though of mixing olive oil with a bit of water and perhaps lemon juice. Its worth a try.

I ordered ladybugs once and they didn’t stay around. Since then, I’ve actually let the aphids go on some trees I’m less worried about and the ladybugs have shown up on their own and then I soon saw the ladybug larva and then the aphids were gone. I now have enough in my yard that I already see adults and larva working the growing tips of my apple trees and there are almost no aphids this spring. They seem to be eating them as soon as they show up.

Building up the beneficial insect populations seems a lot like growing plants to me. You really need to create a good environment for them first so that they’ll thrive.


Getting some flowering plants to feed parasitic wasps can also help. I found that the aphids on my plum tree were getting parasitized by a sort of wasp that spins wooly cocoons around their victims. There is yet another wasp that seems to turn them into crispy husks.


I would think something like petroleum jelly could work? is that not available?

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I’ve used that on duct tape wrapped sticky side out around the base of the tree. It does go a little liquid in high temps, but it did keep both the tent caterpillars and the ants off the tree. If the substance doesn’t go on the bark I would assume any sticky gel would work.

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Those are one of my favorites. There is nothing as satisfying as thinking you see aphids only to realize they are actually little mummified aphids. I often can see them working around all the growing tips looking for aphids. I grew a lot more flowers last year and plan to again this year. I hadn’t thought of them helping the beneficials beyond the bees, but it is good to know they do.

I’ve been using diatomaceous earth.

I have tanglefoot, but did the same, preferring not to directly apply to the trunk. I used kitchen plastic wrap around the trunk, it did not come loose in my climate (dry, warm but not hot summer).

Also tried to make sure to put it as high as possible before branching as my “orchard” is more of a garden and tried to make sure there were no plant “bridges” to bypass the sticky.

Flowers will also attract wasps that parasitize caterpillars and various beetle grubs. There’s a large blue wasp with an orange tail that goes after Japanese beetle grubs that loves my mint and garlic chive blossoms. It’s very abundant here in August.