|Aphids on red Yucca flowers before they Bloom in February|
A. These are black aphids which are common on Chitalpa, its leaves and flowers as well as other plants. They suck plant juice out of the soft tissue of leaves and flower buds and petals, concentrate the sugars taken from the plant and drop it out of their rear as a high sugar, shiny and sticky concentrate.
|Aphids and ants working together|
Ants herd and protect these aphids from other insects as well as move them around. Controlling the ants helps to control aphids and sooty mold. These insects will not kill the plants but they will affect your plants floral display. Spray these aphids off of your plants with a strong stream of water and control the ants.
|Aphids and ants working together on red Yucca after they flowered|
Remember, conventional insecticides can be much more damaging to beneficial insects and honey bees.
Spray in the very early morning hours or at dusk when honeybees are no longer present. If you look at one of your pictures of the flower buds you will see a ladybird beetle immature (larva) feeding on them. It is grey compared to the black aphids.
They are voracious feeders of aphids but there are just too many for this solo beetle larva to handle. Spray them off with a strong stream of water or use insecticidal soap or horticultural oil to kill them.