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Homeowner shares shocking close-up photos of attempt to eradicate tiny, destructive pests: 'Ever seen this many ... on one tree?'

If all else fails, they'll be forced to hire a professional.

If all else fails, they'll be forced to hire a professional.

Photo Credit: Reddit

Aphids are tiny, soft-bodied, sap-sucking insects that feed on leaves and plants. The problem is that they can rapidly grow and cause catastrophic damage, such as stunted plant growth, discoloration, mold, and rot.

These outcomes are a major concern for one Redditor who posted photos of their infestation problem on r/gardening.

Photo Credit: Reddit

With an NSFW filter to warn the squeamish, three photos reveal a boxelder maple tree covered with aggressive aphids.

"Ever seen this many aphids on one tree?" the original poster asked.

The OP revealed they've been spraying with soapy water, are on their second round of taping, and hope to release native ladybugs when they become available. If all else fails, they'll be forced to hire a professional.

Last year, the problem was the boxelder beetles, but it seems once they were pushed out, the aphids moved into the territory with full force, along with ants.

It turns out ants have become the "ranchers" of aphids for the sweet honeydew they produce, as one commenter explained.

"You won't get rid of aphids as long as you don't get rid of ants," one comment simply stated.

Controlling pests without pesticides can fix the problem without exposing you or your family to toxic and dangerous chemicals, which end up in our soil, waterways, and oceans.

Organic options are cheaper, last longer, and are better for the Earth. Even how you strategically plant your herbs can keep pests away naturally.

While ladybugs are natural predators of aphids, it's important to ensure that you introduce a species that is native to your region and free of parasites.

One surefire way to do that is to draw them to your yard naturally by planting pollen-rich blooms rather than buying them online. Having a native garden not only attracts pollinators such as ladybugs, but it can also save you serious cash on lawn maintenance and water bills. You can reap the benefits even if you only replace part of your traditional lawn with natural options, such as clover, buffalo grass, or native flowers. 

The post attracted all sorts of advice despite the OP saying that's not why they posted. 

"Don't buy ladybugs. Sites … say their ladybugs are 'harvested' They are taken (poached) usually from California while they are in hibernation. It's bad for the native ecosystem there, and those ladybugs could be carrying pests or diseases to your local ladybug population," one Redditor discouraged.

After seeing the suggestion for diatomaceous earth to get rid of the ants, one comment replied with a warning: "Please don't apply diatomaceous earth outdoors, it'll kill every bug in the area including beneficial ones."

"Considering you had beetles, now this, I'm leaning towards an environmental factor impeding your tree's health … A good start would be a mulch bed and high quality compost beneath the tree," was one eco-friendly suggestion.

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