Aphids can often be found in your garden produce. While your food seems to be in perfect condition, the aphids may put you off. After all, not that many people enjoy a diet of bugs. But are aphids harmful to eat?
No, aphids are not harmful to eat, thankfully. If you ever eat an aphid, there is no reason to worry as it won’t impact your health.
Eating an insect may seem like a bad idea for someone who is not used to it. Some insects can be bad for you, but aphids are perfectly edible. These small insects consume plants only.
Of course, you might not want to eat aphids, but if you accidentally eat a lettuce leaf with an aphid hidden away, then it won’t do you any physical harm.
Are Aphids Edible?
Aphids are one of the many edible insects. Entomophagy is the name given to eating insects, and it’s becoming more and more common, even in the Western world where it was once taboo.
But, can you eat aphids as part of entomophagy?
You can, but there’s not much point. Aphids are so small and don’t taste of an awful lot that, if you want to eat insects, then you’re better looking at larger insects such as ants (which have a citrus flavour).
Are Aphids Harmful to Humans?
No, aphids are not harmful to humans. They are unlikely to cause any harm to you.
Aphids can bite in some very rare cases, but this is rare as they don’t have normal mouthpieces. Instead, aphids have needles that they use to suck nutrients from plants.
If an aphid does bite a human, it won’t hurt and will often go unnoticed.
Lettuce aphids are not harmful to humans. It might not be pleasant to eat them but if you do then they are unlikely to cause any harm to you.
Yes, aphids on broccoli are fine to eat, but you should still do all you can to remove as many as possible. Soaking broccoli florets in salted cold water is a great way to draw out many hidden bugs.
Yes, aphids that have infested kale are safe to eat. Of course, you will not want to consume lots of aphids as it can be off-putting so give the kale a good wash before cooking it.
Are Aphids Poisonous?
No, aphids are not poisonous to humans. All they do is move from plant to plant, sucking sap. They are fairly simple insects that do not contain venom, toxins or poison.
Obviously, the thought of eating bugs can be off-putting, understandably, but that doesn’t mean you need to worry about them causing you any harm.
Do Aphids Carry Diseases?
Yes, aphids have been known to carry plant diseases. Most plant diseases are carried by insects who, as they travel around your garden, will spread the disease with them.
Aphids are not known, however, to carry any human diseases and are not going to pass any dangerous diseases to you, as a gardener, whether you touch them or eat them.
Can You Eat Herbs Infested with Aphids?
Unfortunately, aphids aren’t particularly fussy in the garden and will happily suck nutrients from a range of plants you’ll want to eat – especially herbs. But can you eat herbs that are covered with aphids?
Yes, it’s perfectly safe to eat herbs with an aphid infestation. When you harvest leaves, try to pick leaves that have not been as impacted as others. Aphids are unlikely to impact the flavour but can make herbs look a little dull.
Next, you’ll want to make sure you give the leaves a thorough clean. Before soaking, try to brush off as many of the aphids as possible. This can be done over a sink and by giving the bunch of leaves a good shake.
You’ll then want to give them a good soak in cold water to drown the aphids. Once soaked, drain and dry. Place the herbs between sheets of kitchen towel to absorb the majority of the water.
How to Clean Vegetables and Herbs
To wash leafy vegetables, salad crops and herbs effectively and to, therefore, remove aphids and other bugs, the best approach to take is to give them a good soak.
Grab a large bowl, fill it with cold water and then submerge your vegetables in the water for 10 to 15 minutes. An added pinch of salt is also said to help draw out the bugs. You’ll often see the aphids (and other bugs) floating to the surface of the water after 10 minutes.
After the time is up, drain and then dry thoroughly. A salad spinner can come in handy here. If not, use a kitchen towel to remove as much of the excess liquid as possible.
Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that are found in gardens and plants. Sometimes you may find aphids in the food you eat, like lettuces, which makes one wonder if they are safe to consume.
While it may be off-putting to some people to eat insects, aphids are not harmful to consume. If you have eaten an aphid, there is no reason to worry. If anything else, like other insects, aphids are a great protein source.
Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden