Aphids

Identification

  • Colour Pale green, black, red, or cloudy white
  • Size From 4 mm to 8 mm long
  • Also known as Plant lice
  • Description Tiny, soft bodied, pear-shaped pests. Some have wings, others do not.

General Facts

Why do I have aphids?

There are about 1,350 species of aphids, also known as plant lice, in North America. They feed on plant sap, by piercing leaves and stem surfaces to suck up the juice. They like to live on or near the plants they feed on, but can also collect under leaves, and on coniferous and deciduous trees. Aphids feed on any part of a plant, but they prefer new plant growths. Often they are transferred to house plants after being brought in from outside on other plants or cut flowers, leaves or they can actively fly in.

How worried should I be about aphids?

Aphids wreak more damage on cultivated plants than any other insect, causing stunted growth, low crop yields, and even plant death. They often feed in large groups, so an aphid infestation can quickly destroy gardens and flower beds. As well, when aphids feed, they produce honeydew, a sweet, sticky substance which attracts ants and other insects to the plant, and can also cause fungal growth detrimental to the plant. This honeydew is also smeared on sidewalks, cars, or other objects under their feeding area. Aphids can reproduce in huge numbers, through a complex reproductive cycle that begins in spring, when a generation of wingless female aphids hatch from eggs on a host plant. They self-clone until the plant is crowded. The next generation develops wings and spreads to another plants. At the end of summer, all aphids return to their original host plant to lay eggs for the following year. While female aphids may only live for up to six weeks, each female aphid can produce as many as 12 young per day, or more than 500 young in her lifetime. To tackle aphids, try adding plants that repel them, like coriander, basil, catnip, chives, and dill. Sweet alyssum, yarrow, or herbs in the carrot family can also attract helpful bugs like lady beetles, lacewings, and flies that eat aphids. However, if your aphid infestation is not eliminated, you may need the help of a professional pest control service to effectively manage and control them using various strategies.

How can I prevent aphids invading?

Inspect plants and cut flowers prior to bringing them indoors, Check the undersides of leaves, Inspect branches and new growth periodically, Look on the soil for cast-off skins, Repair door and window screens, Install weather stripping, Add plants that repel aphids

Other pests related to Aphids

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