What Do Aphids Eat?

What Do Aphids Eat

If you ever notice small green insects in your garden, they might be aphids. Some gardeners, especially beginners, may miss these pests because they are tiny. However, aphids hide underneath the leaves and can cause real problems for gardeners as they damage the health of plants. Therefore, it becomes essential to get rid of aphids as soon as you realize that you are dealing with an infestation. 

Aphids aren’t fussy and will take over any plants. Aphids eat the plant sap through the phloem, which is a tube-shaped structure in a plant. 

The plant sap provides aphids with all the important nutrients for them to nourish and grow. In addition, the sap is filled with sugar which aphids consume in big amounts to get enough protein. Any excess sugar present in the plant sap is stored in the aphid’s rectum to be used later. As aphids consume so much plants sap, you will see your plant’s health begin to deteriorate.

What Do Aphids Eat the Most?

While most plants can be vulnerable to aphid attacks, there are some which are more susceptible as aphids are attracted towards them. Aphids are attracted to various plants, some of them being peonies, lettuce, rosebuds, tomatoes, and mint. 

Some plants which aphids are especially attracted towards is the mustard plant. To avoid extra damage to these plants, you can keep them with those aphids do not like. For instance, plants like marigold and catnip tend to keep aphids away. Hence, if you strategically place your plants, you can prevent aphids from causing grave damage to your garden. 

What Are Aphids Attracted to?

It is already a given that aphids are attracted to plants. However, certain conditions can make your garden more prone to an aphid infestation. 

Aphids tend to attack plants that are already weak. Therefore, it is important to maintain your plants and ensure that they are healthy. Moreover, any plants which are experiencing soft new growth are also attractive to aphids. You must avoid over-watering your plants and using too much fertilizer, which contributes to an environment that aphids love. In addition, over-watering your plants is also not great for your plants. 

How Do Aphids Affect Plants

You may not realize it initially, but aphids can have damaging effects on your plants. These pests are small, but the negative aspects of having them in your garden are great. If you cannot spot any aphids, you can recognize them in your garden by the health of your plants. Here are some ways aphids can affect your plants: 

Plant Disease

A diverse effect on plants because of aphids is plant disease. Aphids eat plant sap by sticking their sharp mouth part in the plant. Hence, aphids can transfer diseases onto your plants. Plants can suffer from viral diseases, and even if they recover, the yield is greatly affected. As aphids spread viruses to plants, the infected plants transfer them to the aphid. This way, the infected aphid then goes on to infect other plants. 

Curling Leaves 

Aphids have toxic saliva, and when they feed on plants, they leave some of it behind. The saliva left by aphids makes the leaves curl and turn yellow. This is one of the symptoms which are linked to an aphid infestation. 

Mould 

Having sooty mould in your garden is an indication and symptom of having an aphid infestation. Infected plants in your garden will have mould on them. You can wipe the sooty mould off the leaves in your garden. However, the mould will come back as long as you have the aphid infestation. 

Lack of Nutrients 

As the aphids will suck all the plant sap, your plants will suffer from a lack of nutrients. Hence, plants experience stunted growth if aphids have infested them. In addition to growth, plants also produce fewer leaves due to aphids. As a result, the plant is more likely to die an early death and live a malnourished life. 

How to Get Rid of Aphids 

Once in a while, you will get aphid infestations in your garden. While it is impossible to get rid of aphids completely, you can take some preventative measures to ensure it does not happen. However, it is important to remember that dealing with aphids requires consistency and patience. You may have to repeat the process multiple times before you enjoy an aphid-free garden. 

You can prevent an aphid infestation by spraying your plants with garlic water. Garlic water works great to deter aphids and other garden pests. In addition, it will be helpful to look out for ants in your garden. Ants take care of aphids and nurture them because they want the sweet nectar they produce. Therefore, if you have lots of ants, chances are you will also have to tackle an aphid infestation. 

If you are dealing with aphids in the present, you can hose them down with water. The water pressure will kill most of the aphids. However, this is a good option if the infestation is in its early stages. Other methods of getting rid of aphids include introducing natural predators to your garden. For instance, ladybugs love feeding on aphids so that the population will be controlled. You can also use other predators like lacewings and parasitic wasps. 

Summary 

Aphids are small green insects you can find on your plants. It can be difficult to spot aphids in your garden because of their size. However, these small pests damage plants which is why it is important to get rid of them. Aphids feed on plant sap by inserting their needle-like mouthparts in the phloem of the plants. The plant sap provides the aphids with nutrients.

 Aphids are attracted to different plants, but the most common being peonies, roses, and especially mustard. There are certain garden conditions that attract aphids. For example, weak plants are more vulnerable to aphid attacks. You must also avoid overwatering and adding too much fertilizer to the soil. You can get rid of aphids through garlic spray, water pressure, and introducing natural predators.

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