Black bugs on cherry tree leaves

lilacs_of_mayMay 27, 2007

I just today noticed that a lot of my cherry tree leaves have colonies of black bugs on them, especially on the undersides. They're not on the cherries, just the leaves. They're about as big as the head of a pin, and they don't move around a lot. But there are a lot of them.

This can't be good.

I'll see if I can't get a decent picture and upload it, but does this ring any bells with anyone? And what do I do to get rid of them that won't poison the cherries I want to put in my mouth?

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Sure sounds like aphids to me. They can easily be controlled with a full-coverage spray or two of Permethrin or even Malathion, but I am sure you will also hear they can be sprayed off with water, or Safer's Soap is effective, beneficial insects can be purchased, etc. etc. If you'd like to try some other method, go to it.

I do not normally spray my cherries since it is so seldom neccessary, and others may disagree, but I would have no problem using an insecticide on them so long as I were at least two weeks from picking. You are more than that away from picking. Even here, we don't pick cherries until the 3rd week of June, and this year it will be later. Cherries that have been given that long to allow pesticide residues to degrade are not "poisoned".

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 4:36PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I have a similar problem on some of my cherries now and my aphids also curl the leaves under so the spray will not get to them. They are much harder to get rid of if they are curling the leaves. I decided the best way was just to trim off the tips where nearly all the aphids are found, and then spray. If your leaves are not curling you should be able to nail them with a spray or two. If there are only a few of them the ladybugs will eventually show up to eat them and there is no need to spray at all. My apples now have minor aphid infestations which the ladybugs are doing a good job on.


    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 6:32PM
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I released my ladybugs today. I ordered them a couple days ago and got them last night, but it was already past dark when I got home and found them on my doorstep. Darned things did not want to crawl onto the tree. They'd crawl all over the mesh bag, all over me, up my sleeves. Had a devil of a time getting them actually onto the tree. I also shook some at the base of my peach tree and in my potato and brassica patch, then I perched the mesh bag on the cherry tree. Hopefully tomorrow they'll wake up and find the aphid smorgasbord waiting for them.

Most of them were alive, I think. Plenty of them were.

Black aphids. Who'd a thunk? I thought all aphids were green.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 12:49AM
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Came out hoping to see hundreds of happy, munching ladybugs. No. I saw several thousand black aphids, and about six ladybugs.

Why would they leave home? There was plenty of food right there.


    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 10:58PM
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Apparently they have some type of migratory instinct. I got a handful of ladybugs a few weeks ago and did a google search.

One recommendation I've seed is to spritz them with sugared soda. Apparently it makes their wings stick closed for a few days and by then they've gotten used to being in your tree and/or have layed eggs.

My plum tree was covered with aphids and curled leaves. I released 5 or 6 ladybugs and now the tree is infested with ladybug larvae.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 1:10AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I never had much luck in the couple times I released the mail-order ones, they all flew away. But I don't spray any pesticide in my orchard and after several years I now have a big local population. I probably have 1000+ ladybugs active in my backyard right now. The big flare-up areas are covered with the larvae. Make sure you recognize the larvae and eggs so you don't accidentally try to kill those guys.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 12:01AM
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You'd think of the 1000+ ladybugs I released at least a couple would stick around to eat the buffet laid out for them. But the evening after I released them, I spotted maybe 6-8 ladybugs. Since then, zippo.

I did Google ladybugs to see what the eggs and instars looked like. I haven't seen any of them, either. :-(

Maybe green lacewings? Or maybe ante up to Neem oil.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 4:48PM
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I came home to a welcome sight tonight. A ladybug was on my cherry tree, eating aphids.

Okay, one ladybug, several thousand aphids. But it's a start. At least one ladybug came back.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 11:33PM
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The only ladybug I saw tonight was nowhere near my cherry tree. But I saw several odd-looking bugs on the cherry tree leaves, definitely not aphids.

I went inside and looked them up on Google. Yep, ladybug instars. :-) And I think some pupa, too.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 10:26PM
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garnet69(6A S.Ont)

I had (note I say HAD) the same problem this year. It was so bad on my Snowball Viburnum the young green shoots were literally black with aphids and my Cherry leaves were all deformed. I blasted with water, sprayed with soap with no effect. I finally decided it was time spray some serious stuff and went out to cut away the infested shoots when I noticed loads of instars. After much contemplation and after reading other posts I decided I would wait and see if the lady beetles would make a difference. Sure enough, a couple of weeks later there is not one aphid on my two Cherry trees or Viburnum to be had. I couldn't believe it! I found a few instars and moved one to a climbing vine on which I noticed some aphids - checked a few days later and the instar was still there but the aphids were gone. Granted there is leaf damage but who cares - when something so small can accomplish something I really thought was not possible. Mother Nature never ceases to amaze. If only getting ride of Peach Tree Borer was so easy.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 10:44PM
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Will ants eat these black bugs I have loads on the cherry tree?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 12:14PM
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Ants farm the black bugs to obtain the nectar they produce. Eating the aphids is the furthest thing from their minds. As far as ants are concerned, the more aphids the merrier.

Spray your cherry tree if you want to kill them.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 7:45PM
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I believe i have the black aphids all over one of my pear trees. can someone shootme a picture of what they look like?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 4:23PM
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Last year I planted Semi Dwarf Van Cherry tree in my back yard. This year I have noticed that almost all the new leaves are curled and inside of the leaves, is a colonies of small black bugs. The size of the bugs is nearly as big as a pin head. They do not move much and are practically stick to the leaves. I consulted several business hear who deals in plants, trees, flowers and vegetables. I went to big one among them. I talked to the woman and she told me that I can't do any thing now and the tree should have been sprayed in spring before buds start appearing. She told me that it is a fungus. I believed her and convinced myself that I have to wait until the next spring. I told my wife since she is very passionate about this tree b/c it was gift to her on last year's mother day. She suggested that if it a fungus the why not to try vinegar (one used at home). I sprayed the bugs with vinegar. It was done on June 6/11. what it did, the leaves almost burned dry but these nasty bugs still are there on the new tiny leaves. Due to heavy rain the vinegar has washed off. I want your expert opinion. I have noticed very few lady bugs and never had an idea that they eat this black bugs.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 4:51PM
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It seems my home remedy has worked well. I have observed that new leaves have emerged out of burned ones without the presence of black bugs. Although it is little early but the leaves are not curled too. Surprising result, that no expert ever mentioned any thing like that simple any where. All cherry lover need to celebrate to find out an easy solution to Black bugs.
With this I'm going to celebrate today's Father day in Mandarin.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 10:49AM
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i noticed one tree is infested in back. my cherry in front is clean. tried spraying them off with water but now my yard is full of them. some have wings??? i will spray them in the morning with the fruit tree spray when the wind dies down. now i'm all itchy! i hope they aren't all over me, just the thought is enough to get me scratching. j

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 5:51PM
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i think these may be some sort of fruit fly... since aphids don't have wings that i know of. the small ones look like tiny turtles and the adults look like fruit flies. what ever, i want them gone asap. there are some of those black wasps and bees hanging around.j

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 6:03PM
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i think i nailed it, black cherry aphids and some have wings. j

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 10:44PM
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oh and vozmil, vinegar is a great organic herbicide/ insecticide, kills most plants and many insects as well. j

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 10:53PM
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I had green Aphids on lupins and the lemon mix got rid of them.

I have black things that are not flying yet on all the new growth on my cherry tree, Wow, all over the place, I will try the lemon again as the vinegar has not worked.. Let me know if you find something that works please.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 3:23PM
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