Aphids are small insects from the Aphidoidea family of insects. You might also hear them called “greenfly” or “blackfly.” However, the 5000 known species of aphid come in a variety of colors.
Aphids are one of the most destructive insects in the temperate region. These sap-sucking insects only live for one month. Unfortunately, they can do a lot of damage during that month.
We’ve explained how quickly aphids multiply and the type of damage they cause. We’ve also listed several specific kinds of aphids, what they eat, and the types of damage they cause.
- Aphid Multiplication Problems
- Aphid Damage
- Common Aphids
- Black Bean Aphid (Aphis fabae)
- Grape Phylloxera Aphid (Daktulosphaira vitifoliae)
- Green Aphids
- Hop Aphid (Phorodon humili)
- Lily Aphid (Neomyzus circumflexus)
- Melon Aphid (Aphis gossypii)
- Norway Maple Aphid (Periphyllus lyropictus)
- Potato Aphid (Macrosiphum solanifolii)
- Spruce Aphids (Elatobium abietinum)
- Western Aster Root Aphid (Anuraphis middletonii)
- Collection Of Aphid Articles
- Final Thoughts on Aphids
Aphid Multiplication Problems
Aphids do a great deal of damage because they multiply quickly. When an infected leaf becomes too crowded, an aphid will develop wings to fly from plant to plant to look for a suitable host. Each aphid can produce 40-60 offspring and lay several aphid eggs or wingless nymphs on each plant upon which they land.
Aphids reach sexual maturity in 7-10 days. They are usually all born female and can reproduce asexually with no need for male fertilization. They are also a parthenogenetic species that can be born pregnant, which allows for telescoping generations.
Multiply 60 by 60 a few times every 7-10 days, and you can start to see how quickly aphids can get out of hand in your garden.
Aphids are a pest for agriculture, fiber industries, forestry, and home gardeners. Some aphid species feed on just one type of plant, others have a life cycle that involves two species of plants, while others are generalists that colonize many plant types.
Aphids can damage plants in a variety of ways. These garden pests weaken plants by sucking their sap, transmit plant viruses, and leave behind honeydew secretions that feed sooty molds.
Sap-Sucking Side Effects
Aphids infest the undersides of tender terminal leaves. Then, they use their piercing, sucking mouthparts to feed on plant sap.
For many plants, sap-sucking just makes the leaves wilt or turn yellow.
However, other plants are more sensitive to aphid saliva, and their leaves pucker or become severely distorted. Some plants will produce malformed fruit or flowers after aphids feed on them.
Aphid Virus Transmission
Aphids can be a vector for spreading viruses from one plant to another. If an aphid has a plant virus on its mouthparts, it only needs to probe a plant for a few seconds or minutes to infect another plant.
Aphids produce a sticky, sugary liquid waste called honeydew which can attract other insects such as ants.
Sooty mold grows on and decomposes honeydew as their primary source of nutrition. Sooty mold doesn’t feed on the plant itself. However, when sooty mold covers leaves, it blocks sunlight and prevents photosynthesis.
You can expect that any plant that has a problem with honeydew may eventually find itself host to sooty mold as well.
Thousands of types of aphids exist. However, these are some of the most common ones.
Black bean aphids have olive-green to black bodies. They colonize beans, corn, sugar beets, lamb’s quarters, and pigweed during the summer. They overwinter as eggs on burning bushes and snowball bushes.
Black bean aphid damage you might notice includes:
- Leaf distortion, wilting, curled leaves, and yellowing
- Dense Aphid populations on the undersides of leaves
- White cast-off skins on the underside of leaves from previous generations
- Black sooty mold
Grape Phylloxera Aphid (Daktulosphaira vitifoliae)
Grape phylloxera aphids can be various colors, including yellow, yellowish-green, olive green, light brown, brown, or orange. They feed on the roots of both wild and cultivated grapes.
The type of damage you will notice if grape phylloxera aphids infect your grape roots includes:
- Swollen and yellowish roots
- Dead spots on roots from secondary fungal infections
- Weakened or stunted vines
- Less fruit
More on Daktulosphaira vitifoliae
Green aphids are usually pale green but can sometimes be pinkish. They are one of the most common aphids found on peppers.
Green peach aphids can damage pepper plants in the following way:
- Yellowing and curling of leaves downwards and inward from their edges
- Transmission of pepper potyviruses and cucumber mosaic cucumovirus
Hop Aphid (Phorodon humili)
Hop aphids are pale white to green. They overwinter as eggs on Prunus species, including plums, peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries, and almonds. In spring, they feed on their original Prunus host and then travel to hop plants.
Hop aphid damage includes:
- Curled and wilted leaves
- Defoliation from heavy infestation
- Wilting and browning of hop cones
- Sooty mold
- Viruses including carlaviruses
More on Phorodon humili
Lily Aphid (Neomyzus circumflexus)
Lily aphids range from white to pale yellow and bright green. They are polyphagous, feeding on various plants, including ferns, herbs, climbers, shrubs, and trees. In temperate climates, they mainly feast on greenhouse plants.
Damage from lily aphids include:
- Deformed, curled, and wilted leaves
- Leaf galls
More on Neomyzus circumflexus
Melon Aphid (Aphis gossypii)
Melon aphids are either yellowish-green or a dark green that appears black under low light. They feed on cucurbits, cotton, okra, hops, strawberries, asparagus, citrus, catalpa, violets, hydrangeas, begonias, beans, spinach, tomatoes, ground ivy, gardenias, and clover.
Melon aphid damage includes:
- Growth distortion
- Decreased crop yield and quality
- Prematurely ripened fruit
- Fruit covered with aphids, cast skins, and honeydew
- Transmission of plant viruses including lily rosette, lily symptomless diseases, citrus quick decline, onion yellow dwarf, and cucumber mosaic
More on Melon Aphids – Aphis gossypii
Norway Maple Aphid (Periphyllus lyropictus)
Norway maple aphids are yellowish with brown dorsal markings, usually with a stripe from the head to the thorax and a v-shaped mark on the dorsal abdomen. They lay eggs and feed on maple trees.
Damage Norway maple aphids inflict on maple trees include:
- Minor plant-tissue damage from piercing sap-sucking
- Sooty mold
More on Periphyllus lyropictus
Potato Aphid (Macrosiphum solanifolii)
Potato aphids can be red or green. Infestation colonies can include a combination of both colors of aphids. They feed on potatoes and hundreds of other plants, including eggplants, tomatoes, lettuce, turnips, spinach, and kale.
Damage from extreme potato aphid infestation can include:
- Distortion of leaves and terminals
Spruce Aphids (Elatobium abietinum)
Spruce aphids are green. They closely match the color of their favorite food: spruce tree needles. They usually feed on older needles. However, because they are wingless, they may move to newer branches during a population breakout.
The type of damage you can expect from spruce aphids include:
- Yellowing, browning, and dropping of needles
More on Elatobium abietinum
Western Aster Root Aphid (Anuraphis middletonii)
Western aster root aphids lay tiny green eggs, but adults are light yellow and more transparent as nymphs. They feed on the roots of herbaceous perennials in the summer and Populus trees such as aspens and cottonwoods in the fall.
The types of damage western aster root aphids cause in herbaceous perennials include:
- Leaf wilting
- The top of the plant falling off as a result of heavy infestations
- Spreading of the watermelon mosaic virus
Damage western aster root aphids do to Populus trees are not as severe and include:
- Leaf galls
- Premature leaf drop
More on Anuraphis middletonii
Collection Of Aphid Articles
Sometimes scientific names and treatments on specific plant varieties can be confusing. Below is a collection of articles on controlling the aphids you may encounter around your home:
Aphids By Color or Common Name
- Black Aphids
- White Aphid
- Orange Aphid
- Green Aphid
- Green Peach Aphid
- Black Bean Aphid
- Potato Aphid
- Melon Aphid
- Root Aphid and Controlling Root Aphids Naturally
- Woolly Aphid
- Fuzzy White Aphid
Aphid Control by Plant Type
- Controlling Aphids on Roses using a home aphid rose remedy
- Can you get rid of aphids on roses with vinegar? Vinegar is a natural option but is it the right aphid solution?
- How To Get Rid of Aphid bugs on Hibiscus – Aphid pests can cause curling, leaf distortion, and turn leaves yellow. They also carry viruses.
- How To Control Aphids on Mandevilla – Tiny yellow and black aphids attack Mandevilla plants and their flowers, causing lots of damage if left untreated.
- Getting Rid of Aphid bugs on Petunias – Aphids suck the sap of petunias, causing curling, distorted leaves, stems, and branches, along with stunted growth
- How to Get Rid of Aphids on Lemon Trees – Aphids on lemon are common. The question is “how do you wipe them out as quickly as possible” before they cause damage?
- How To Get Rid of Aphids on Succulent Plants – Where do aphids hide on succulents? We share where they hide, how to detect them, what to do to get rid of these pests.
- How To Get Rid Of Oleander Aphids Aphis nerii – These tiny, bright orange or yellow aphid pests can grow wings when colonies become overpopulated and fly to a new location. More on can Aphids fly?
- How To Control Aphid Bugs on Rose of Sharon Plants – Aphids leave behind a sticky honeydew attracting ant farming aphids and other insects and trapping fungus spores for fungal infections, rot, and mold.
- How to Get Rid of Cabbage Aphids – The cabbage aphid feeds on brassica-type plants – cabbage, Cauliflower, Broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, attacking younger plants and causing significant damage to crops.
- How To Get Rid of Aphids on Desert Roses – Aphids cause wilting, yellowing, and leaf discoloration. It is easy to grow and resistant to many diseases, but aphids can plague the Adenium.
- How To Get Rid Of Aphids On Pepper Plants – Aphids suck the sap out of pepper plants. A small population can grow to a large aphid infestation fast!
- How To Get Rid Of Aphid Pests On Hoya Plants – Aphids can cause your Hoya plant to lose its radiance. Learn how to identify and get rid of Hoya aphids.
- How Do You Get Rid of Aphids on Daylilies? – Aphids can ruin the beauty of these colorful perennials.
- How To Get Rid Of Aphids On Gardenia Plants – Aphids ruin Gardenia flowers and their intoxicating scent. Learn tips on getting rid of aphids that attack Gardenias.
- Learn WHY Controlling Aphids on Milkweed is Important – It all has to do with the endangered Monarch butterfly.
- How To Get Rid Of Aphids On Tomato Plants – Infestation is a common problem for home gardeners. We share ways to eliminate aphids using natural remedies and organic methods.
Methods To Kill Aphids Chemical and Organic
- Neem Oil for Aphids
- Killing Aphids with Soapy Water
- Making A Garlic Spray To Control Aphids
- Controlling Aphids With Diatomaceous Earth
- Using Castile Soap For Aphid Control
- Does Sevin Kill Aphids?
- When Is Best Time To Spray For Aphids?
- 12+ Natural Ways To Control Aphids
- How To Attract The Voracious Aphid Midge To Your Garden – The Aphid Midge is a GOOD BUG and aphid predator consuming up to 65 aphids per day. Strong jaws and paralyzing toxin reduces aphid populations.
- Pests Ladybug Eat
- Assassin Bugs Eat Aphids
- What Eats Aphids
- Home Remedy for Aphids
Final Thoughts on Aphids
There’s no way we could cover all the aphids you might find in your garden, but at least you know now that wilting plants, deformed fruit, honeydew, and sooty mold are signs you might have aphids hiding under your leaves.
Aphids multiply quickly and can seriously damage plants when they suck sap, spread viruses, or when their honeydew attracts sooty mold. Early identification can be vital to get rid of infestations, prevent severe damage, and prevent the spread to other plants of the same or different species.