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How to Get Rid of Aphids on Blueberries

While aphids do not damage blueberry plants directly, they sometimes introduce diseases to the crop. Illinoia pepperi and Ericaphis species aphids, for instance, may transmit blueberry shoestring virus and blueberry scorch. Aphids overwinter as eggs on blueberry bushes, and then hatch and colonize new growth in the spring, living on the undersides of blueberry bush’s leaves. You can rid your blueberry crop of aphids through a combination of cultural, biological and chemical control.

Things You'll Need

  • Magnifying glass
  • Duct tape
  • Ant stakes or bait
  • Weed cultivator
  • Herbicide
  • Insecticide
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    • 1

      Begin monitoring the blueberry bushes for aphids in the spring. Use a magnifying glass to scout for aphids on the undersides of leaves. They are most often found on young shoots at the base of the bush. Inspect these areas of the plant on a weekly basis. If the aphid population is small and remains so, keep it under control through a combination of natural predators and cultural methods. Increasing populations may require chemical control.

    • 2

      Increase natural predators that feed on aphids by creating a hospitable environment. For instance, avoid using insecticides in an area that may destroy natural predators unless absolutely necessary. Parasitic wasps, lady beetle adults and larvae, lacewing larvae and syrphid fly larvae are all naturally occurring predators. Commercially available lady beetles may be introduced into the garden to provide natural aphid predator reinforcement.

    • 3

      Control ant populations, which “farm” aphids for their honeydew -- a sweet, sticky substance excreted by ants -- and protect them from predators. Place a band of sticky material around the base of the blueberry bush to prevent ants from crawling into them, such as duct tape or any of the commercially prepared materials available at garden centers. Ant stakes or baits may be places on the ground around the blueberry bush.

    • 4

      Clear weeds in the area around the blueberry bushes. Aphids often populate weeds and migrate to newly planted blueberry bushes. Weeds also prevent effective coverage of blueberry bushes when spraying insecticides, and provide places for overwintering populations of aphids to take refuge. Remove weeds manually or through the application of herbicides.

    • 5

      Apply insecticides for severe infestations of aphids, and repeat if necessary. Insecticidal soap and neem oil provide temporary control. Because these products do not leave a toxic residue, natural enemies of aphids migrating into the area will not be killed. Other insecticides are available that may kill higher numbers of aphids than soaps and oils, but their use should be limited because they also kill the natural enemies that provide long-term control of aphids. Follow label instructions and spray insecticides to direct the substance at the underside of leaves as well as the top.