Whilst they are most commonly found on plants, you may sometimes see aphids on the grass. Is this because of their diet or a different reason?
The Quick Answer
Do Aphids Eat Grass?
Aphids do not eat grass. In fact, they don’t eat many plants. What they do is draw the sap out of the plants which they then consume. Grass, however, does not provide a suitable quantity of sap so aphids are also unlikely to consume grass sap.
What Do Aphids Eat?
Aphids are herbivores, meaning they do not eat meat, which might lead you to think that they do eat grass. But they do not eat grass.
Their diet consists of plant matter, sap which can be extracted from plant leaves, roots and stems. They are also able to get this sap from trees. This sugary substance is the only thing that aphids need to consume, and it makes them a sweet and tasty treat for their predators, such as ladybugs.
Does Grass Contain Sap?
So, if aphids don’t eat grass you would think it plausible that they extract sap from grass.
This is true, grass does contain quite a high content of sap. However, it is not common practice for aphids. Grass does not provide enough sap to sustain a colony of aphids and it does not provide a good place for them to lay their eggs.
So, whilst aphids may feed on the sap from grass if necessary, it is usually not the reason why they would be found in the grass in the first place.
Why are Aphids Found on Grass?
Not being a primary source of food means that there are other explanations as to why aphids would be found in the grass in your garden. The primary reason is due to predators. Aphids have a mechanism which allows them to escape predators. If they see a predator approaching, they are able to loosen their grip on the plant and simply drop to the floor. This is the main reason why you may see aphids in the grass.
The other reason is if a deterrent has been used. There are lots of ways to deter aphids from going near your plants. Strong smelling plants such as garlic or marigolds drive the aphids away from that particular area. Not all aphids can fly, meaning that they may be subsisting on the grass until they find a new plant to inhabit. If this is the case, you will likely see yellowing or browning patches of grass on your lawn from where the aphid colony is.
What Eats Grass?
If there is something eating your grass, we’ve established now that it isn’t aphids. So, let us have a look at the other possibilities of pests that may be eating your grass and messing up your lawn.
Grubs are larvae of many different insects such as chafers. These grubs live just below the surface of the grass and eat the grass roots. This will cause patches in your grass where it does not grow. They are one of the biggest lawn pests and will be most common in the spring and summer months.
Another clue is if you think you have a mole problem in your garden, it is likely that they are searching for a grub meal.
Much like aphids, these bugs will eat sap, but they will consume sap primarily from turf grass. When they suck sap from the grass blades, they excrete a substance that will kill the plant. Large areas of wilted and sometimes purpling grass are the result of these chinch bugs.
These moth larvae are the only pests on this list to fully consume the grass blades, stems and the roots. These larvae are found in groups, most commonly during the summer. They are the likely culprit if you grass has suddenly been left with bare, brown patches as these larvae make their way through turf grass very quickly.
These are not the only pests that can cause damage to your grass. But if it looks like your grass is being eaten then these are the creatures that are most likely responsible.
How to Get Rid of Aphids on Grass
Regardless of whether they eat the grass blades, these pests can cause a lot of damage to your turf and garden. Using pesticides and chemical sprays are effective but they can damage both your flora and the helpful insects that come into your garden. There are many natural ways to get rid of aphids.
One of the most effective is using ladybugs in biological control. Ladybugs are a natural aphid predator, and they will consume large amounts of aphids in a very short time without becoming pests themselves. They will also eat some of the other pests that may be damaging your grass. You can obtain ladybugs from various biological control suppliers.
To summarise the main points of this article, aphids do not eat grass, but they consume sap which grass produces.
Aphids are most likely to be in the grass to escape predators. Other pests that may be eating your grass consist of grubs and sob webworms. Using biological control such as ladybugs is an effective way to remove aphids from your plants and grass as well as some other pests.