Aphids drastically affect the health of plants as they suck the sap from plants. Unfortunately, there are several varieties of aphids, all of which inhabit different plants. But what vegetables do aphids eat (and which are safe)?
Unfortunately, aphids eat a range of vegetables. Some vegetables which aphids like to eat include cucumbers, beans, squashes, and lettuces.
Aphids can cause grave damage to vegetable plants. Other than the usual symptoms of an aphid infestation, these insects also transmit diseases to vegetable plants. This can result in deformed stems and leaves.
Some vegetables can be more vulnerable than others, and a large infestation can damage these crops.
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What Vegetable Plants Do Aphids Like?
Unfortunately, you can find aphids on a range of vegetable plants, feeding on them and causing damage. Aphids feed on various vegetable plants, including lettuce, kale, tomatoes, and cabbage.
Unfortunately, you will likely find aphids on every vegetable plant. Cucumbers, beans, squash, and lettuce leaves are the most vulnerable vegetable plants.
Aphids are also likely to attack root vegetables, leafy greens, and soft herbs.
If you have vegetable plants in your garden, it is essential to ensure that you check them regularly to see if they have aphids. Aphids can be hard to detect, but you can look at the damage and tell.
Aphids suck sap (therefore nutrients) from plants. This will result in deformed plant leaves, stunted growth and curling of foliage.
In addition, if you have aphids in your garden, you will also have ants. When aphids suck on plant sap, they secrete honeydew, which is sweet, and ants run after it. Ants are known to nurture aphids and keep them safe for their honeydew.
You may also spot sooty mould on your vegetable plants. The honeydew that aphids secrete leaves the vegetable plants sticky, resulting in the production of sooty mould. This is not harmful, but it hinders the process of photosynthesis as the sunlight does not reach the plant.
What Vegetables are Aphid Safe?
While aphids are known to consume various vegetables, there are some that you can plant in your garden that they do not like.
For instance, aphids hate vegetables belonging to the allium family. You can grow these plants in your garden to repel aphids. Some of these plants include garlic, leeks, onions, and chives.
The strong smell of these vegetables will be enough to keep aphids away. You can create a border with these plants or put them between your other vulnerable vegetables to protect them against aphid attacks.
How to Get Rid of Aphids from Vegetable Plants
Before you learn how to get rid of aphids from your vegetable plants, it is important to identify them. Aphids are small insects shaped like pears.
Usually, aphids can appear to be green, but they are found in different colours, including black, pink, brown, red and grey.
You will mostly find these insects on the underside of leaves. These insects suck on the plant sap and will secrete honeydew, a sweet substance. You can also tell that you have aphids in your garden if you spot this sweet substance on your vegetable plants.
Aphids are easy to kill as they have soft bodies. However, aphids can be difficult to control as a collective unit, and you will find them in large numbers. You can take a few measures against the aphids in your garden:
The first thing you can do is knock the aphids down. This is not a difficult task and will not take much effort. All you need is a strong spray of water using a hose.
This method is also helpful if you have a lower number of aphids in your garden. The strong pressure of water will knock aphids from your plants and can actually kill some in the process.
Sometimes you have no choice but to step back and let nature take over – after all, aphids are simply part of the natural food chain.
A way to handle aphids is by introducing natural predators in your garden, which feed on aphids. Many insects like to munch on aphids, including ladybugs, lacewings, crab spiders and parasitic wasps.
Rightly, many people avoid using chemicals in their garden and prefer going the natural route.
One of the ways you can naturally tackle the aphid population in your garden is by using neem oil. You can apply neem oil on your plant leaves and vegetables.
One of the effective ways to deal with aphids is using soap sprays. Not only do soap sprays help kill aphids, but they are effective against other insects.
You can make your aphid repellent using some dish soap and water. Mix the repellent well and spray it on the vegetable plants and the underside of the leaves. It would help if you were consistent with this method to see successful results.
Still have questions about aphids and the vegetables they consume? Then have a look over these common questions:
Unfortunately, aphids are not fussy and will attack many crops, including soft berries, leafy greens, brassicas and cucumbers.
If you have harvested aphid-infested vegetables, then they will contain aphid honeydew. This is perfectly safe to consume, but it’s still a good idea to give your fruit and vegetables a good soak and wash in cold water.
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