Aphids seem to multiply across your garden in a matter of seconds. One day you’ve got a few aphids ruining one plant, the next they’re taking over entire flower beds. So how do aphids reproduce so quickly?
Aphids follow two methods of reproduction depending on the kind of environment they live in. Aphids will reproduce either sexually or non-sexually.
When aphids reproduce non-sexually, they will go without a male. Instead, female aphids will lay eggs and create clones of themselves. When the eggs hatch, the male aphids come out and reproduce with the females.
Since aphids reproduce in two ways, this explains why they are found in big numbers among plants as the life cycle differs constantly.
Do Aphids Reproduce Sexually or Asexually?
Aphids will reproduce both sexually and asexually depending on the environment they live in and the seasons. For example, during autumn, spring and summer, female aphids will reproduce asexually or clone themselves.
When the female aphids lay eggs, the eggs survive during the winter, and some of them hatch to become males. These males later mate with female aphids but this is just a small part of the aphid reproduction cycle.
How Do Aphids Reproduce So Quickly?
Every insect sees aphids as potential prey; therefore, the only chance aphids have of surviving is to reproduce rapidly. The fast reproduction of aphids instead of other animals makes people question how they do it so quickly?
The reason why aphids reproduce so quickly is that they mostly reproduce asexually. Therefore, female aphids do not require a male counterpart to help them reproduce.
Unlike other insects or mammals that need a male, female aphids will make clones of themselves. This is why a few aphids will grow to be a full aphid infestation quickly.
An adult female aphid on its own can produce 80 new aphids in the space of just one week. Therefore, you will see the aphid population growing rapidly. If you’ve got 10 female aphids, you could have 800 aphids a week later.
How do Aphids Reproduce Asexually?
The asexual process of reproduction in aphids is called parthenogenesis. In this process, female aphids will not lay a fertilized egg but produce a clone of themselves.
During the summer months, female aphids produce clones with two X chromosomes, and then when winter comes, the females give birth to males, which only have one X chromosome.
When the males mature enough to mate, the eggs will produce female aphids only. This is because the sperm of a male aphid contains an X chromosome only, and when it combines with the female X chromosome, only female aphids are produced.
What is the Aphid Lifecycle?
The aphid eggs hatch in the spring season, and the baby aphids which come out are all females. Then, the baby aphids will begin to feed and grow. When the female aphid grows, it will shed its skin and reach adulthood. Aphids turn from nymphs to adulthood quickly, generally within a week.
The female aphids that hatch are known as stem mothers. The female aphids produce many generations of aphids in one season. When the stem mother begins to reproduce on the host plant, it becomes overcrowded with aphids. Soon, some aphids will leave the host plant and go to new homes.
When aphids are born, they do not have wings. However, some aphids will continue to develop wings. The winged aphids will colonize a new plant, and they will continue to produce more aphids on the new plant and so on.
When the temperature begins to fall, the female aphids will produce male aphids. Then, at the end of summer, the females will produce eggs that help the aphids to overwinter to ensure that a new generation of aphids hatch when spring comes.
Aphids that live in warmer climates do not need to lay eggs. Instead, the aphids will continue to produce females with no need to overwinter.
Aphids are small insects that reproduce quickly and therefore are a danger to gardens. The rapid reproduction of aphids is fascinating and makes people wonder how they do so.
Aphids reproduce in two different ways, which are sexual and asexual reproduction. When aphids produce asexually, they make clones of themselves without a male aphid.
Until the wintertime, female aphids lay eggs that then hatch, and some of them are male aphids that later mature and mate with female aphids.
When aphids are on the host plant, they will multiply. When the plant becomes too populated, the aphids born will form wings and move on to new plants. The winged aphids are more dangerous than normal aphids because they destroy plants and spread more quickly.
Therefore, it is important to protect your plants against aphids by installing air and water traps. You can also use barrier crops to save primary plants, so aphids go to the barrier first and get cleansed from viruses they may carry.
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