Sometimes it’s the tiniest yard pests that create the biggest problems. This is usually the case with aphids and ants.
Both of these insects can spell trouble during the summer months if they decide to make a home in your yard – or worse find their way inside. For gardeners in particular, the presence of ants and aphids can make the season much less enjoyable.
Let’s take a look at each one and why you’ll want to get them gone before they settle in.
Always Hatching Aphids
Aphids have the adorable nickname plant lice because that’s kind of what they look like as they crawl across plants. Unlike lice, miniscule aphids can be a number of colors including yellow, red, green, brown or black. When you get in very close you’ll notice they have a pear-shaped body with long legs and antennae.
What aphids lack in size they more than make up for in number. Every summer many generations are born, which means they’ll just keep coming as long as the eggs keep hatching. Worse still is that all aphids are born female with eggs already in their body. That means they don’t even have to find a mate to reproduce. In as little as a week an aphid can be fully mature and giving birth to live offspring.
Baby and adult aphids will devour vegetables as well as ornamental plants. They survive by sinking their mouth-parts into the plant and sucking it dry.
You’re most likely to find aphids hiding on the underside of leaves. They’ll bunch up together in a clump, which makes them easier to spot. You’ll also notice the leaves of infested plants start to wither and discolor. Aphids won’t typically kill an established plant, but young plants can be severely damaged. Some plants are also susceptible to the saliva aphids inject after they latch on.
Ants That Come in Droves
People are more familiar with ants since they’re everywhere in the summer and there are over 12,000 species. Ants may be teeny tiny, but like aphids, they travel in large numbers. Colonies can consist of thousands of ants, but that’s just an average. In some areas of the world supercolonies can have millions of ants.
Ants are social creatures. They work together to build nests, find food and protect their young. That’s part of the reason they’re so hard to get rid of. Ants put their tiny brains together to figure out ways to survive no matter what.
Another problem with ants is they fiercely protect their colony. They’ll establish their territory surrounding the nest and get aggressive if other ants, insects or people come near. You literally have to kill off every single ant to get a colony under control.
While ants prefer to be outside, during the summer they become a household pest that’s hard to evict. They can go days and days without food, but ants need water on a daily basis. If it’s a particularly dry summer it common to see them crawling around sinks and drains to collect every drop of water they can.
Ants and Aphids Work Together
Possibly the biggest problem is that aphids and ants work together. They have a symbiotic relationship in which they help each other out. Essentially the ants herd or “farm” aphids, giving them protection from predators. Why do they do this?
Aphids excrete a waste called honeydew. It can get all over your outdoor furniture and cars, but ants love to eat it. The honeydew provides a sugary meal that gives the ants energy. Ants have even evolved to “milk” the honeydew out of aphids if they aren’t producing it on their own. They’ll also carry aphids to a new food source once they’re done sucking a plant dry.
You don’t have to deal with an aphid or ant infestation. Vulcan Termite and Pest Control Inc. can take care of both problems with custom pest control treatments. Give us a call today to schedule an inspection.