Aphids are a common garden pest. Their small, soft body is pear-shaped, and individuals within a species vary in color. They may appear green, yellow, brown, red, or black. Their color changes depending on their diet. Adults are tiny, only growing to about 1/10th of an inch long. Their specialized mouthparts allow them to pierce the skin of a plant’s stems, leaves, flowers, roots, or shoots and suck out the nutritious fluid. Aphids feed together on plants in groups.
Are aphids dangerous?
Aphids are garden pests that pose no direct danger to people or property. Throughout its lifetime, almost every plant will have aphids feeding on it at one time or another. Aphids only cause problems when a large population feeds on a single plant. The biggest problem with aphids is not their feeding habits but the large quantities of honeydew they produce. Honeydew is a sticky substance that aphids produce and leave behind on plants.
Honeydew allows for a black sooty mold fungus to grow on and damage plants. The sweet honeydew also attracts other garden insects to plants which potentially cause further damage to flora. In addition, while feeding, saliva from the aphids is injected into the plants, allowing them to transmit different plant pathogens and diseases.
Aphids have found their way onto your property because it is offering them easy access to food sources. If there are plants on your property that aphids want to feed on, they will. Vegetable gardens, flower gardens, landscaping plants, fruit trees, household plants, and others attract aphids.
Aphids are primarily outdoor pests, but they do find their way inside of homes on potted plants. Aphids are usually first discovered on the underside of leaves. Gardeners discover an active aphid population when:
- Leaves on the plants turn yellow.
- The edges of leaves begin to curl.
- Plants have a black, sticky substance.
- There is a delay in the production of fruits and flowers.
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