If you see tiny yellow bugs on your plants, it could be an aphid infestation. Depending on the severity of the infestation, there are several low-cost and eco-friendly solutions that use common household items that may encourage the bug’s departure.
This article details the defining features of yellow aphids and what it looks like when they’ve overtaken a plant. Their habitation brings potentially severe damage to plants, so it’s important to remove them as soon as they are seen. A lot of organic remedies are natural repellants and DIY options for removing them are shared below, making it easy to take care of an aphid problem.
Do I Have A Yellow Aphid Infestation On My Plant?
As a plant owner, it can be a little alarming to find bugs living on your plants. There are so many types of pests that can live in and on plants, and sometimes they can be hard to identify. While the majority of aphids are yellow, other species are black, dark grey, white, green, or even pink!
Discovering which type of aphid you have is a good place to start, knowing there are more than 4,000 species of aphids that have been described and about 250 are considered pests for ornamental plants.
What Do Yellow Aphids Look Like?
Tiny yellow bugs on a plant are a common problem and yellow aphids, specifically, have a very distinct appearance. Because of their color, shape, and slow movement patterns, you will know when yellow aphids appear – and they need to be removed right then to prevent plant damage.
Aphids are soft-bodied, pear-shaped, and very small. They can measure from ⅛”-¼” in length, making them relatively hard to see without closer inspection.
Young aphids, also called nymphs, look like the smaller form of adult aphids. Some types of aphids have two small tubes on their back ends, called “cornice”. Yellow aphids don’t have wings most of the time, but some species do grow them to move away, reproduce, and form new colonies.
Aphids can live through and survive almost any condition, making them highly adaptable and causing them to appear in any climate or season.
Because aphids reproduce faster than almost any other insect, they build their colonies fast, in big numbers, and tend to have a ravaging effect on plants. Luckily, they move slowly, allowing removal to be quite easy when caught early enough.
What Happens To Plants With A Yellow Aphid Infestation?
Aphids have a special mouth that is well-made to cut and drain a plant. Yellow aphids love the liquids and hydration plants can provide. They generally feed off plant tissues and sap, affecting leaves, branches, flowers, fruits, and even root systems.
Not only do aphids feed off plants, when they are feeding they also produce a toxic secretion they inject back into the plant. This will lead to halted growth, wilting, and discoloration of the plant.
In addition to that cycle, it is commonly thought that aphids carry plant disease, adding another risk of deterioration. Plant disease can look like rotting or mold on the soil or roots of a plant. If your plant has a disease, it may be too late for an intervention.
As mentioned, aphids grow and feed in large groups, but they can be seen individually as well. If you see a lot of them or just a few, it means they have set up to build a new home on your plant and you’ll want to take action right away!
How Do I Get Rid Of Tiny Yellow Bugs On My Plant?
Don’t let an aphid infestation stress you out though. Fortunately, there are a lot of different options to try that will get these pesky bugs out of your plants.
While the results of each of these methods are going to vary, depending on the species of aphid and the size of their colony, each option is worth a try.
Here are a few natural ways to move those bugs off your houseplants for good:
- Remove by hand
- Spray with water hose
- Soapy water
- Neem oil
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Introduce natural predators
Choosing between natural, organic, or chemical options will need a bit of education to understand all the options available and how to implement them the proper way.
And with all of the options available to assist with the natural removal of aphids, in the end, the number one way to get rid of yellow tiny bugs is prevention. Prevention tips are shared at the end of the article, so read on!
What Is The Easiest Method For Removing Tiny Yellow Bugs From Plants?
The first and simplest thing to try for getting rid of yellow bugs from a plant is physical removal. A damp piece of cloth being rubbed on the plant will knock them off pretty easily in the early stages of an infestation.
This solution works best for small colonies and bigger colonies may require some additional control methods, especially if there are simply too many to remove by hand.
Using Water Pressure To Remove Tiny Yellow Bugs
When battling larger infestations you can take plants outside and spray them with a strong blast of water from the hose. This control method works well on mid to large-sized colonies.
Aphids aren’t very strong so they will be knocked off the plant quickly and they will not have the capacity to climb back up on the plant, effectively leaving them to starve. This method will not damage your plant, which is an added bonus.
Soapy Water Is Effective At Removing Tiny Yellow Bugs From A Plant
Pull out a spray bottle, some dish soap and run some warm water – you now have one of the most effective methods of yellow aphid control. Some experts swear by this remedy and say that it works even better than insecticides.
In a spray bottle, adding 2 teaspoons of soap to 24 ounces of water will create the right solution needed. Mix it well by shaking the bottle before spraying the affected area. While using the spray bottle, ensure the tops and bottoms of leaves are fully sprayed to repel aphids on all parts of the plant.
Adding cayenne pepper to any solution used for aphid control is said to make a homemade insecticide even more potent.
Is Neem Oil Effective For Removing Yellow Bugs From Plants?
Neem oil has been used for a long time as a natural and organic insecticide. This is a very easy and trusted form of aphid control using a commonly found essential oil.
Neem oil is made from the neem tree which produces seeds that are harvested and pressed to then extract an oil. Due to neem’s naturally astringent properties, it disrupts the aphid’s system and will prevent them from reproducing, effectively minimizing their feeding and growth.
Further, Neem oil is an organic repellant and will cause aphids to “jump ship”. Yellow aphids are repulsed by Neem oil and will take leave when it is present.
You can easily buy Neem oil, like the one above, online through Amazon. It is 16oz of pure oil that should be mixed with water and then sprayed onto your plants (detailed instructions on the back of the package). You must cover the whole plant area that is experiencing a yellow aphid infestation, not forgetting the undersides.
Alternatively, there are also pre-mixed solutions containing neem oil that are also helpful. Often these products do not provide detailed information about all the ingredients they include, which does not allow us to know if the solution is really organic. For that reason, and if you wish to buy a ready-to-use solution, we recommend you to talk with your local garden or plant store which may have more information on these products and their ingredients.
How Do Garlic And Onions Stop An Aphid Infestation?
Garlic and onions are something most people have in their kitchen regularly. These common foods, while tasty, also act as natural repellents when it comes to aphid populations.
Planting garlic and onions near other plants to provide protection is called “intercropping”. When done effectively, intercropping has been shown effective at reducing the rate of aphid infestation in some crops, when compared to other crops that did not have onion and garlic nearby.
If you have a large infestation and even want to prevent future infestations, intercropping with onion and garlic is a cheap and effective method of control over these pesky bugs.
How Do You Use Isopropyl Alcohol To Control Yellow Bugs On Plants?
If you’re looking for a super safe control method for aphid infestations, look to your local pharmacy for isopropyl alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol is 100%-safe for plants, but for aphids, it’s rather deadly.
The best way to use isopropyl alcohol to kill aphids is to spray it directly on plants. If you’re worried about it being too strong, you can add a little water to dilute it.
Spray the solution on the most affected areas and allow it to dry. Using this method two to three times a week for about four weeks will be the most effective. This will cause the population to slowly die off.
What Predators Will Help Get Rid Of Tiny Yellow Bugs On Plants?
While some insects are out to harm your garden, others are here to help! Some insects are beneficial to plants, helping keep other pests at a minimum and promoting overall growth.
Three of aphid’s biggest predators are ladybugs, damsel bugs, and the mantis. These insects attack aphids and will decrease an aphid population rather quickly.
Adding new insects to your plants to combat aphids will be a natural process for both the bugs and the plants, allowing nature to do its thing.
If caught at an early stage, an aphid infestation will be controlled by a few of the attackers mentioned above. Please note that adding predators to the environment will not be as effective if the infestation has gotten out of control and plant disease or rot is present.
How Can You Prevent Yellow Tiny Bugs From Infesting Plants?
Prevention and maintenance go a long way when it comes to battling invasive pests like the yellow aphid. While it is easier to manage early, because they reproduce so quickly, the risk of a quick infestation is always possible.
Focusing on the prevention methods below will create better health for your plants in the long run and make happy plants and plant owners alike!
Clearing Out Weeds Will Prevent Tiny Yellow Bugs And Aphids
Aphids have a great capacity for living in weeds, so clearing out weeds is a good first step for prevention. Weeds are the perfect environment for aphids to thrive and grow because of their affinity for wet and new growth. Any other plant debris should be removed for the same reasons.
Monitoring And Upkeep Are Important For Preventing Aphids
Regular monitoring of plants is a must for keeping plants aphid-free. Inspecting the bottom of leaves and at the base of plants is good practice because these spots are where aphids like to hide. If you see one or two, it’s much easier to prevent overgrowth. Plus, monitoring your plants on a regular schedule also encourages general upkeep like watering and checking soil health.
Ants May Pose A Problem
While monitoring your plants, you can also check for ants. While ants keep busy with pollen and other sweet particles, they also “farm” aphids to carry honey particles for them. If you see ants, it could be a sign that aphids are present as well.
Be Careful With How Much Fertilizer You Use On Your Plants
Lastly, if you fertilize your plants, make sure you’re not overfertilizing. Overfertilization creates a more nitrogen-rich soil and yellow aphids are attracted to that perfect environment for themselves. Read the instructions on your fertilizer and use it accordingly, being watchful for how much you’re adding to the soil each month.
There are so many different ways to help control tiny yellow bugs (aka yellow aphids) from entering your plant’s habitat. With the tips above, you can choose from a number of natural and organic homemade solutions and even seek out new bugs to prevent aphids from taking up residency.
If you’re wanting to never see a tiny yellow bug on your plant, it’s a good practice to monitor and control your plant’s environment with regular weeding, careful fertilization, and inspections for bugs and pests.