Aphids

Aphididae

Blackfly, Greenfly, Plant aphids, Plant lice

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One of the most common garden pests, aphids are small sap-sucking insects in the superfamily Aphidoidea. They are often seen feeding in clusters on new plant growth. There are over 4000 species worldwide and in low to moderate numbers, they are generally not too harmful to plants. However, a general decline in plant vigour will be noticed with a substantial infestation. Aphids feed on the cell contents of plant leaves, which over time reduces the green leaf area available for photosynthesis.
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Traits

Aphids produce large amounts of honeydew. This sticky fluid drips on plants and attracts ants and can also promote sooty mold growth on leaves.
Aphids are a source of food, especially for ladybugs and lacewings.

Appearance

Aphids may be green, brown, yellow, black or red in colour depending on species and their food source. They are rather small and have pear-shaped bodies that are soft. Some may have a waxy or woolly coating and are known as 'Woolly aphids'.

Symptoms

Colonies of aphids clustered on young stems, leaves and buds Wilting and distortion of leaves and young shoots Yellowing and premature death of leaves and young plants A sticky substance on the plant or leaves, known as honeydew

Activity

Diurnal

Personality

Order

Hemiptera

Family

Aphididae

Metamorphosis

Incomplete

Distribution

Worldwide.

Biological treatment

Natural predators include ladybirds, wasps and lacewings. Aphids can also be treated with a strong jet of water to dislodge them from the plant or a light, soapy mixture applied to the plant or even just squashing them. Remember to get rid of ants first in order to get rid of aphids. Neem oil or Ludwig's organic insecticide will also do the job!

Chemical treatment

Avoid using chemical treatment as aphids are food to other beneficial insects and there are more than enough non-harmful methods to get rid of them.

Attracts this pest

Repels this pest

Repels this pest

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Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
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