The Rockdale Gardener

Gardening Posts From Rockdale Cooperative Extension

Aphids, Scale, Whiteflies and Mealybugs…the Quartet of Nasty Insects

aphids on lettuce

Aphids on lettuce. Aphids have protrusion out of their rear-end that look like tailpipes.

mealybugs on a houseplant

Mealybugs on a houseplant. Mealybugs have a waxy coating covering their bodies.

scale on euonymous

Scale on euonymous. Scale insects cover themselves in either a hard shell or waxy coating.

whitefly egg cases

Whiteflies on the backside of leaves. Whiteflies are a problem on many flowers and on shrubs such as gardenia.








I call Aphids, Scale, Whiteflies and Mealybugs…the Quartet of Nasty Insects for a reason…they are the most common pests in the landscape and garden. These four insects are related, cousins if you will, and they suck the life out of plants with their little straw-like mouthparts. These critters live on the underside of leaves on infested plants and are very difficult to control.

  • Monitoring for these pests is critical to controlling them. Inspect the underside of plant leaves that you purchase and do not buy infested plants. Periodically inspect established plants.
  • Aphids are easy to spray off of plants with a stream of water.
  • Remove infested branches of plants before the insects spread to the whole plant. Dispose of infested limbs and leaves off-site.
  • Keep plants healthy through good fertilization by following Soil Test recommendations from UGA
  • Look for pesticide recommendations the landscape and vegetable garden in the Homeowner Pest Control Handbook produced by UGA.