Cherry trees are grown for their fruits. Cherries are loved by almost everyone.
Black cherry aphids love them too. They infect cherry trees and devour the sap out of the tree.
They especially love the sweet cherries. Do you see these wretched pests on your cherry trees?
Signs of Black Cherry Aphids
These pests are easy to spot. Black Cherry Aphids are shiny, metallic black, and 0.3cm long.
They are bigger than most aphids. Mature black aphids may be winged or wingless.
If you see curled, distorted leaves and sticky, black ‘honeydew’ on fruits and leaves your tree is housing these pests.
What are the little black bugs on my cherry tree?
These are most probably Black cherry aphids. They love to hang out on cherry trees and suck the sap.
They are often seen in large numbers(colonies) on leaves.
Are black aphids harmful to plants?
Black aphids are a nightmare to cherry plantation owners.
Black aphid infestation can definitely harm growing cherry trees. Some trees may even die.
But they can not harm a well-established cherry tree. If the infestation is heavy then it may even harm fully-grown trees.
They cause honeydew deposits on leaves and branches.
At such points sooty mold, a fungus thrives and can be a cosmetic problem. If this mold spreads to fruits too, they won’t be edible.
Where do black aphids come from?
Adding too much fertilizer to the soil increases foliage growth and attracts these pests.
They hatch from their eggs shortly before bloom. These newly hatched aphids undergo many reproduction stages and can rapidly multiply.
Wingless females are hatched from the eggs and undergo asexual reproduction to produce more aphids.
In such reproduction, some winged aphids are produced.
These winged pests migrate to Mustard plants. When it’s time for them to lay eggs, they come back to the cherry trees.
Black Cherry Aphid eggs
Eggs of these pests are shiny black and oval in shape.
Black Cherry Aphids lay eggs on buds or bark. These eggs hatch just before bud break in the spring.
How do black aphids spread?
Adult Black Aphids usually spread from an affected plant to a healthy plant via ants.
Winged Aphids can fly. They go to Mustard plants and return to Cherry plants to lay eggs.
How do I get rid of black cherry aphids?
As these pests harm your fruits, it becomes crucial to get rid of them for good.
The best time to get rid of them is early spring, as they replicate rapidly at this time.
There are various ways to do it.
The most effective way to control these pests is to encourage their natural predators.
What eats Black Aphids?
Biological control of Black Cherry Aphids can be done by introducing Syrphid flies, Lacewing larvae, Parasitic wasps, and soldier beetles.
This method is completely safe for our plants and gets the job done.
Will ladybugs eat Black Aphids?
Ladybugs are the main predators of Black Aphids. If they are introduced on an infected plant, these pesky pests will be gone.
An adult ladybug will eat 50 or more aphids in a day!
The convergent lady beetle is specifically used to control the spread of aphids.
This type of beetle will not harm other types of insects.
Cutting the infected leaves
Whenever you see leaves with colonies of Black Aphids, cut the leaves off and drop them in a basket.
If you leave such leaves/branches on the ground, the aphids go back to the tree.
If you actively cut leaves with aphids on them, your cherry trees will be completely fine.
Tip: You can dislodge small colonies of aphids using a powerful stream of water.
Black Cherry Aphids vs. Neem Oil
If the Black Cherry Aphid infestation is heavy, it needs to be controlled by other means.
Many choose to spray chemical insecticides, but I wouldn’t advise this.
You can spray Neem oil on the affected branches. This solution is completely organic.
You can also spray horticultural oils on the affected leaves and branches.
Prior to treating the tree with these oils, water abundantly. A well-watered tree will not have side effects from horticulture oils.
Catch ’em early
If you could predict aphid infestations early, wouldn’t it be great?
It can be done.
Place sticky cards on branches of cherry trees in late winter. This helps you monitor the populations of aphids.
Check these sticky cards regularly. If you see tiny black aphids on them, spray it with Neem oil.
Insecticidal soap spray
I take care of these pests via biological control methods or other natural means. Some people choose to use Insecticidal soap.
Do not spray insecticidal soap when the temperature is warm or when the bees are active.
Spraying insecticidal soap in the evening is ideal.
Two or three such applications may be needed in case of stubborn infestations.
A Combination of Insecticide and Horticulture oil
Spray a combination of horticulture oil and insecticide chlorpyrifos on the trunk and branches of your cherry tree.
This solution can kill bees. So, it is ideal to do this in the evening when the bees aren’t around.
Preventing an infestation
As you already know prevention is better than cure. How do you prevent an aphid infestation?
- Do not overfeed your plant. Some people tend to feed a lot of nitrogen fertilizer to their trees. This has proven to attract Black Cherry Aphids.
- Deter ants. Ants move the aphids around. Control ants and you can control the spread of the Black Cherry Aphids. You can do so by making a 3-5″ barrier of tanglefoot on your cherry tree’s trunk. Do this every spring and you’ll no longer see aphids on your cherry tree. Make sure ants do not reach branches of the cherry tree and your tree will thrive just fine!
I hope this article will be helpful to you, happy gardening! 🙂