I have a pussy willow tree that I noticed is covered with small bugs. They appear to be grow from red to brown as they age. Other insects seem to be attracted to the tree now too, I’m assuming for the bugs. I am attaching pictures that hopefully are easy enough to see the bugs. How can I get rid of them? The tree is small, about 2 feet tall, and is potted in regular potting soil and sits in the sun most of the day. I’ve never noticed bugs like this before. Please help.
Close inspection of your photograph reveals that your pussy willow is infested with aphids.
We receive numerous questions on how to control this pesky critter. Here is information from one of our earlier posts.
Aphids come in many colours and attack a very wide variety of plants. Reproduction and consequently, infestation, takes place rapidly. Aphids suck plant sap, which causes distorted leaves, buds and flowers and excrete a sticky substance called honeydew, which attracts ants and other insects. If the aphid infestation is allowed to go unchecked the honeydew will build up and this is the perfect media for sooty mold to grow. This mold is unsightly and blocks light from the leaves. Normally, aphids cause damage but do not kill a plant.
A strong blast of water from your garden hose can dislodge the adults along with repeated application of insecticidal soap (available from your local garden centre- make sure to follow directions) to catch the nymph stages can help control the population of this leaf sucking insect. When spraying with insecticidal soap, make sure to spray both the tops and underside of the leaves. As well, move the affected plant away from others for several days.