Aphids causing problems in Regina following ladybug shortage
Some Regina residents might have noticed sap on their cars, but it’s not coming from trees; a small insect, known an aphid, is to blame.
Aphids are small sap sucking bugs found around the world. Perhaps for humans, they are most recognizable from the honeydew they leave behind. The substance, similar to a syrup, often leads to sticky cars and sidewalks.
“Think of it comparatively to a mosquito,” said Russell Erich, manager of open space services for the City of Regina.
“Aphids are like a mosquito to a tree, They have a sucking mouth part, they like to suck the juices out of the leaves, and then they exert a honeydew, which makes the trees really sticky.”
Aphids are generally a simple inconvenience for people, but they can have a big impact on trees and plants.
“The aphids will stress the plants and if a plant gets stressed then it is susceptible to disease and you can get mortality from it as well,” said Eirich.
Normally, the city and Cherry Lane Greenhouse bring in ladybugs to fight the insects. However, this year ladybugs have not been brought into Regina.
“There’s been a shortage for the ladybugs,” said Colleen McGillivray, owner of Cherry Lane Greenhouse. “We were told that it’s the fires out of California if you order them in. But sometimes you just have to get into the leaves and you can find them in Saskatchewan, too. They love aphids.”
Instead, soap and water can be used to treat them.
“You don’t want a whole bunch of soap, you just want a little bit,” said McGillivray. “But just a couple days of washing it off and you’ve got them in control”
In Regina, aphids are primarily seen on elm trees. Eirich said the city receives roughly 60 calls a week about the bugs.
“We take a look at the trees, and if we see an aphid problem on those trees from that call, we will spray those trees,” said Eirich.
On top of leaving a sticky mess on your car, the honeydew will also attract ants and wasps. Aphids can be seen on trees where there are sticky leaves, or if the leaves start to curl up.
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