Tiny Yellow Bugs on my Bougainvillea

Gulf Breeze, FL(Zone 9a)

At first glance, I thought it was pollen particles, but they were moving! Does anyone know what they are, and what, if anything I need to do?


Thumbnail by shekhina
Gulf Breeze, FL(Zone 9a)

Second Shot

Thumbnail by shekhina
Voorheesville, NY

Hi There,

They look like aphids. You can buy spray. I just had them on my roses and used lady bugs I bought at a garden center. The lady bugs got 95% of them. I may spray them if there's more in another week. They won't hurt the plant...so I read.

Waterman, IL(Zone 5a)

Try spraying the plant with soapy water.

Kalamazoo, MI

Buy or order ladybugs. They'll eat all of the aphids!

Gulf Breeze, FL(Zone 9a)


Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Run your thumb and index finger up the stem from the bottom, gently but firmly and as you do so, you will crush and kill most of these greenfly, try to keep in mind if you have or use ladybirds as a predator for aphids, then a week later you use a chemical spray, you will also kill off the ladybirds who helped you out in the first place, you need to encourage your ladybirds to stay in your garden and they will overwinter there, lay eggs and the larvae will hatch out come spring to eat even more of the new seasons bugs, it's a shame to mix live predators with chemical stuff, good old household washing up liquid mixed with water and sprayed will be far kinder in the end. hope this helps you out a bit, good luck. Weenel.

Gulf Breeze, FL(Zone 9a)

Yep, i'm all about the ladybugs. Actually, that's exactly what i did, WeeNel.. ran my thumb and index finger up the stem, etc. i'll try the soap and water next if i have to, but plan on checking into the ladybugs.. they'll be great for my patio flowers too. thanks for all the help and advice, everyone!!!

Gulf Breeze, FL(Zone 9a)

Okay, first thing.. it's mandevilla, NOT bougainvillea.. my bad, lol. it's thriving so far, but i can NOT keep the aphids off of them! i started with brushing them off, didn't keep them away, so i graduated to an organic soap pesticide. this still doesn't seem to be doing the trick. i can't find anyone around selling ladybugs, either, although i did manage to catch one in the house and set it outside, lol. any other suggestions? i'm afraid they're going to eat it up before it blooms!

Tuscaloosa, AL(Zone 7b)

If the vine is not too fragile for this, you can simply blast them with a good spray of water. You need to do it every day for several days.

The dish soap (not detergent) mixed in water and sprayed on until the plant is dripping should also work. With the soap spray you need to do it several times a couple of days apart.

Either of these methods will work on aphids.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Brushing the insects will only spread them as they can fly back again or onto any other plants close by, you could also try those bright yellow sticky traps as these can work well, you tie them up above the plants about 2/4 inches above, then give the plant a shake and see if the flies jump or fly upwards, they then get attracted to the yellow colour and soon as they touch the trap, they are stuck for good, when you brush them, they can land on the soil and just find there way back home to your lovely plant again, when you spray, if this is the way you want to go, then make sure you spray under the foliage as well as on the top as these pests will be everywhere, failing all that, you may have to resort to a pesticide from the garden center, I myself dont like them, but if I was desperate, maybe this will save your plant, just dont overdo it, and were a mask if your spraying indoors as you wont want to breath in the spray either. Good Luck. WeeNel.

Gulf Breeze, FL(Zone 9a)

Thanks.. I tried the organic soap pesticide, and it knocked down the numbers, but they're still there. I've sprayed every few days, but can't get them gone. i'm interested in the dish soap method, but unsure what ratio of soap to water to use. if that doesn't work, i'll look for the traps, and if that doesn't do it, i'll resort to pesticide, but i really hate to do that.. i feel like i'm giving up. thanks everyone!

as an aside, we're new to florida, and i've discovered there are also scorpions. i am most unhappy about that, lol. if anyone knows how to get rid of them, i'd be extremely grateful.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

You're not going to have any better luck with dish soap than you did with insecticidal soap, if anything the insecticidal soap is better because you know you're using the correct concentration and it doesn't have anything in there that doesn't belong on a plant (as dish soap might). The trick with aphids is you have to keep after them, I would spray the insecticidal soap as you have been, but on the days in between get out there with the hose and hose off any that are there. They reproduce at the speed of light, so if you soap them one day and miss even one, by the time you come back again a couple days later with more soap they've had time to re-establish themselves.

Gulf Breeze, FL(Zone 9a)

will give that a shot, thanks. i'll let you know how the battle fares, lol.

(Arlene) Lakeland, FL(Zone 9a)

Shekina I had the same problem but solved it with the mist setting on my hose nozzle. I haven't seen any since last week. It was on my pink mandevilla too. BTW.... check the back of the leaves because I had some white little puffy creatures on them too. They were also washed away with the sprayer.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

the little puffy things you describe are white fly or the dead cells that the baby greenfly were born in, Ive been know to turn my vac nozzle or and hold it in one hand as I shake the plant with the other, just dont soak u the foliage of the plant, it takes time to get a grip or these little flies as Ecrane has said, they bread like lightning, one green/white fly lays about a zillion eggs and they hatch out ready for a meal on your plants, so even seeing one fly will give you some idea that 2 days later you have a whole mass of them, also their droppings are sticky and spraying or misting helps to get rid of this sticky stuff as it can cause further diseases, so your doing everything right, it just takes time and patience along with constantly keeping a watch for them, good luck, Weenel.

Gulf Breeze, FL(Zone 9a)

just an update; still fighting them.. i think i'm losing one of the mandevillas.. it's looking all sad and droopy. the other one is blooming and looking good. the bugs here are ferocious. i'm almost ready to admit defeat and buy pesticides, much as i hate to do that.

(Arlene) Lakeland, FL(Zone 9a)

Hi Shekina,

I think I am going to loose mine too. Do have these on yours by any chance?

Thumbnail by Gardenia731
Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

OK gardenia, what you have is white flies, millions of them, like the greenflies, they multiply in the blink of an eye, if you look close at your plant under leaf, you can see signs of black mold starting to grow, dont panic just yet, but the mold is caused by the sticky stuff that the flies excrete, it sticks to the leaves and the mold starts to form, this left alone will definitely kill your plant as the spores from the mold prevent the plant from breathing through its pores, so in your situation, I would suggest you use a pesticide from the garden store, when you spray this onto your plant, make sure you spray under all the foliage as well as on top to kill off the flies, unfortunately most of us dont like using pesticides, but on few occasions, it is sometimes our only choice to save the plants, if you go down this rout, dont spray on a really hot sunny day as this will just add to the stress your plant is under, if your plants are outside, do it when there is no breeze either or your spray will blow everywhere, but remember to water your plants as normal but not onto the foliage after you pray. once you get the white/green fly under better control, try to snip off the really badly effected moldy leaves as they will die off anyway and when the plant is under less attack from the flies, it will grow more new leaves naturally. You may need to spray at a few days interval to really get rid of the pests, but when you do, stay vigilant for more arriving, I absolutely hate the use of any chemicals, BUT, there are instances where the natural remedies are not working and have had to resort to this method very seldom, I have not killed myself doing it, nor have I poisoned the world, but as I said, sometimes there is no option, you could end up with all your plants dead as once this dying plant is gone, the flies just move on to the next one. there are some chemical sprays that wont harm any other good bugs so ask for one specifically for green/white flies as these are more selective than some really strong ones that will kill anything that breaths or fly's. hope this helps you out, Good Luck. WeeNel.

Gulf Breeze, FL(Zone 9a)

yes, it is Gardenia. I've already cut it back to the new growth at the bottom of the trellis. I feel somewhat fortunate that i do have the new growth, but we'll see how it comes along. The leaves looked like your picture, then got limp and dried out. It was sad. :( the second plant on the other side of the star jasmine is blooming and doing well. I don't get it, lol.

Let me know how your battle goes. I read WeeNel's post and I tend to agree that for me, anyway, it's time for the pesticide. I've tried all the other methods and just don't know what else to do. I'm hoping they don't move on to the jasmine and other Mandevilla as suggested might happen, but am keeping an eye out. I sure didn't know it would be such a struggle in Florida to garden!!!!

Adelaide, Australia

I've been battling the same problem with no success with purchased sprays. I thought the black mould might be associated with the bugs. Milk is useful in the prevetion of mould so I used cotton wool soaked in milk to wipe off the black mould and the yellow bugs. I'm keeping a watcthful eye out for re-infestation. It was a tedious job but now it's easy to spot any little yellow bugs trying to make a come-back. After a few days it seems hopeful!

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

To still be talking with the same people about the same bugs tells us all something, and it is, these bugs get hold and will keep breeding over and over again and when they kill off the plant, they just take a little flight to the next culprit to gorge and suck the life out from, but the good thing is, no one seems to have given up and thats great.
I had a really bad infestation of greenfly in my greenhouse this year, tried everything natural but no good, then decided to take the plants outside one at a time, spray them using a gentle spray-head while using my fingers to help remove the clusters of bugs, it was a really relaxing job and the difference was more or less instant, the large clusters of bugs that were on the tips of any branches got the chop by nipping off the tips and destroying the bugs as I went, to be honest it is the last resort before reluctantly going down the route of using chemicals, I didn't want to use these as I also have to grow tomato's in my greenhouse therefore have to chose the time more closely when you have to spray chemicals near food, but anyway, managed to avoid that by washing my plants gently with water from the hosepipe on a gentle setting, it reminded me of when I had to wash my chow-chow dogs and this meant teasing your fingers gently through their thick coat, anyway I diverse, my bugs went as after my shower treatment I managed to get on top of them using my dish washing liquid diluted with water and in a hand spray, Here the washing up soap seems to have some oil added and this sprayed seems to help it stick to the bugs and prevent them breathing, good job done and now were into November our extremely cold days and nights has done the rest of the job for me. Good luck everyone, hope next year were all bug free ha, ha, ha. WeeNel.

Virginia Beach, VA

For bugs that i can not eradicate with Dish soap solution I use diluted neem oil.


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