Last Updated: February 28, 2019

Definition - 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. In fact, there are more than 4,000 different aphid species in the world today. They are also sometimes called plant lice, greenflies, blackflies, and whiteflies.

MaximumYield explains Aphid

The world is filled with insects that love to prey on gardens. From Japanese beetles to caterpillars, threats are everywhere. 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.

When present in small numbers, aphids do little damage to plants. However, they can quickly multiply, and heavy infestations can do significant damage. 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 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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