Do Aphids Eat Plants?

You may know aphids are bad for your plants but do you know why? Do you know the damage aphids do? And do aphids eat plants or not?

No, aphids do not eat plants but they do suck sap from plants which can ultimately kill plants in your garden.

Aphids, like all of us, need food to survive. These tiny insects love feeding on plant sap which is sweet like sugar. Aphids need to consume lots of plant sap to get enough protein to survive. If there is any sugar that the aphids have not used, it is stored in their rectum. 

Do Aphids Kill Plants?

If you have a large aphid infestation, you can easily tell by the amount of honeydew on the plant leaves.

Although honeydew is not harmful, it can cause some problems. The honeydew which has collected on the leaves can cause sooty mould to form.

The mould itself does not harm the plant, but since it covers the leaves, it blocks sunlight and cannot photosynthesize. Many gardeners have reported that their plants suffer from stunted growth when the leaves are covered with sooty mould caused by aphids.

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There are other damages that aphids can cause to plants. These insects are known to spread plant diseases quickly. When aphids feed on an infected plant, they can spread that disease to other plants when they move on.

It becomes difficult to control the damage since the aphid population increases rapidly

Aphids can kill those plants which are already unhealthy. Since aphids suck the plant sap, they are essentially sucking the nutrients out of the plant. If you have an unhealthy plant and it becomes infected with a disease or infested with aphids, it can die.

It is important to maintain your plants and ensure they are healthy so they can sustain aphid attacks. One of the best ways to protect plants is to ensure they are well fed and hardy.

What Can Aphid Damage Look Like?

Sometimes you may not spot aphids or have difficulty recognizing them. Aphids feed on many plants and can cause damage to them as a result.

You can tell if you have aphids by the kind of damage they cause to your plants. 

The first thing you should look at is the leaves of the plants. One of the signs that you may have an aphid infestation is if the leaves are curling, yellowing and are stunted. While you are at it, you can also check the underside of the leaves as aphids tend to hide there. 

In addition to curling and yellowing leaves, they can be covered with honeydew. This is a sign that aphids are sucking sap from your plants.

Honeydew is a sweet substance which that insects produce as waste. Honeydew which aphids produce can attract other insects like ants. Hence, if you notice that there has been a rise in ants in your garden, it can also be an indication that you have aphids. 

As aforementioned, honeydew also leads to the production of sooty mould, which is a fungus. If you spot any black mould on the plant leaves, it can be because of aphids. In addition, the flowers and fruits can take distorted shapes too. 

How to Stop Aphids Destroying Plants

Ultimately, the best solution is always going to be prevention. If you have strong, healthy plants – even if they’re inhabited by aphids – then they will still survive and grow strong.

The other thing you ought to do is encourage natural predators of aphids. Ladybugs are the top predator you will want to attract to your garden. Yarrow, angelica, fennel and other flat-bloomed plants will encourage ladybugs who will then eat aphids.

However frustrating aphids are, avoid using chemicals in the garden as they are still plant of the natural food chain.

Summary 

It can be worrisome to spot aphids in your garden. Aphids are known to feed on the plant sap from plants. As a result, aphids produce a sweet substance known as honeydew. Aphids need honeydew for survival, and they consume in large quantities to obtain protein.

So, although aphids do not eat plants, they can cause long-term damage to many plants that they choose to spend time on. 

Aphids can damage your plant in various ways. For instance, the leaves can curl and turn yellow. Moreover, honeydew on the plant leaves can cause sooty mould to form. This covers the plant and prevents it from performing photosynthesis.

Aphids are also known to spread plant diseases from one to another. If the plant is already weak, it can die in the process.

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