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Aphid

Last updated: May 15, 2021

What Does Aphid Mean?

An aphid is a small, soft-bodied insect that survives by sucking the sap from plants and consuming it. They can cluster thickly, depriving garden plants of the sap needed to carry nutrients through tissues, causing wilting, poor fruiting, and even plant death.

Aphids come in all colors, although pale white or light green are the most common. They can also be black, or yellow, winged, or non-winged. In fact, there are more than 4,000 different aphid species in the world today. They are also sometimes called plant lice or greenflies.

There are also root aphids, which differ slightly from regular aphids in that they have shorter legs and antennae, which makes them well-adapted for life underground.


Aphids on the stem of a plant.

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Maximum Yield Explains Aphid

The lowly aphid is one of the most common insects to plague gardeners, and when present in significant numbers, can do a great deal of damage to your plants. An aphid infestation can cause leaf curl, sticky leaves and stems, blackened leaves, an increase in ant populations, and distorted flowers and fruits. Cannabis growers in particular must be on the lookout for aphids as they like the same temperatures as cannabis plants.

When present in small numbers, aphids do little damage to plants. However, they can quickly multiply, and heavy infestations can do significant damage caused by something called honeydew, a sticky substance that the pests excrete on and among the plants. Note that aphids reproduce multiple times during the growing season, giving birth to live young. In the fall, male and female aphids develop, mating and laying eggs that will overwinter, only to hatch a new colony in the spring.

Controlling aphids is easiest when their numbers are low. Removing them from plants can be as simple as washing them away with a garden hose. However, heavy infestations may require the use of dish soap and water, lemon sprays, sticky traps, screens, and chemical pesticides or insecticides (either conventional or organic). Horticultural oils can be applied late in the fall to kill eggs before they hatch in the spring.

Also note that aphids are attracted to plants with higher nitrogen levels, as well as lots of new growth. Overfertilizing a garden can create the ideal breeding ground for these insects.

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Synonyms

Plant Lice, Greenfly

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