Bark Aphids

naThanks to listener Wayne Thomas, we now have a picture (click on photo for a close-up) you can use to confirm the infestation of bark aphids.

These are not to be confused with bark lice, which are beneficial insects.

As most of the calls the radio program have confirmed, bark aphids are anything but beneficial ... they rain honeydew on everything below. Then, a black, sooty mold develops on the honeydew. Most calls seem to be from listeners either wondering why the tree seems to be dripping sap (actually the honeydew excrement from the aphid) or what's the unusual bug clustering on my tree limbs.

This is a level of infestation we haven't seen in seven years. There are a couple ways to rid yourself of the problem.

First, blast them off with a water hose and treat the tree a day or two later with dormant oil spray.

If you want an immediate kill, go with Malathion, Isotox or Orthene. I suggest a dormant oil spray a week later to insure you kill any eggs or nymphs that may have been protected during the insecticidal spray.

And here's something to consider: if the honeydew is dripping harmlessly on nothing below, entomologists say this are a short-lived insect that will go away on its own.

Randy Lemmon is the host of the GardenLine radio program on Newsradio 740 KTRH. Randy has been doing GardenLine in one capacity or another since December of 1995, for all three of the now Clear Channel AM stations - KTRH, KPRC & KBME. When Randy took over GardenLine, he replaced long-time Houston radio veteran and GardenLine originator, Bill Zak. For those who remember that far back, GardenLine was a weekly radio staple on KTRH from 10 a.m. to Noon Mondays through Fridays - along with a Saturday show as well. Now GardenLine is heard exclusively on Newsradio 740 KTRH on weekend mornings.