If you ever notice small green insects in your garden, they might be aphids. They are found on a variety of plants but what do aphids eat and what will they avoid?
Aphids aren’t fussy and will take over any plants. Aphids eat the plant sap through the phloem, a tube-shaped structure in a plant.
The plant sap provides aphids with all the important nutrients to nourish and grow. In addition, the sap is filled with sugar which aphids consume in significant amounts to get enough protein.
Any excess sugar in the plant sap is stored in the aphid’s rectum to be used later. As aphids consume so much plant 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, some are more susceptible as aphids are attracted towards them. Aphids are attracted to various plants, peonies, lettuce, roses, tomatoes, and mint.
Some plant which aphids are mainly 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 marigolds and catnip tend to keep aphids away.
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 prone to an aphid infestation.
Aphids tend to attack plants that are already weak. Therefore, it is essential to maintain your plants and ensure that they are healthy.
Moreover, plants 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.
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We’ve Put Together a Complete and Free Guide on How to GET RID Aphids Once and For All! – Including 5 Deterrents to Try:
How Do Aphids Affect Plants
You may not realize it initially, but aphids can damage your plants significantly and for the longer term. These pests are small, but the negative aspects of having them in your garden are significant.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Do you have more questions about what aphids eat? Then check these FAQs out:
Aphids will avoid eating plants with a pungent smell, such as those in the allium family. This includes chives, garlic and onions.
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