Adult aphids live on plants and trees, but is there a special or separate place in which they lay their eggs and how does this differ between species of aphids?
The Quick Answer
Where Do Aphids Lay Eggs?
This depends on the species of aphids. Some aphids will lay their eggs on plants, often on the underside of leaves. There are, however, some species that will lay their eggs elsewhere including plant roots.
Are Aphid Eggs Laid on Plants?
The place for a nest of aphid eggs will differ from species to species depending on where the specific aphid resides and what it requires to survive. As many aphids live on plants in large colonies, this is where most species will lay their eggs.
On a plant, you will primarily find patches of aphid eggs on leaves, often on the underside to try and keep them hidden from predators. There are also aphid species that lay their eggs close to flower buds. This is particularly common on plants such as rose bushes.
Which Aphids Lay Eggs Elsewhere?
There are certain aphid species that do not lay their eggs on their primary host plants. This can be for a number of different reasons but let’s look at the aphids that are commonly known to do this.
The sycamore aphids are known for laying their eggs in areas away from food sources. Likely to due to the quick hatching times. Many of their eggs are laid in bark crevices of trees, some of them can also be laid on branches in large clumps.
Like their name, these aphids prefer to stay around the roots of plants. This means that they inhabit soil and therefore they also lay their eggs in soil. They lay them under the ground in the soil’s protection over the wintering months.
There are other species of aphids that have unique spots for laying their eggs, but apart from plant leaves and buds, bark crevices and soil are the most common laying spots for aphid eggs.
When are Aphid Eggs Laid?
There are differences in the life cycle of different species of aphids, meaning that their egg-laying times may differ slightly, but they follow the same general pattern.
In the spring, nymph aphids will asexually produce a small number of eggs to increase the nymph population. These eggs hatch in just one week. In the autumn season, these nymphs will then lay more eggs which produce a male population. The males and the females then mate, producing the next generation of aphids.
These eggs are not hatched in one week and instead overwinter. They are laid in a secure place, usually onto a plant, to keep them safe through the winter months. Next spring, these eggs will hatch, and the cycle will repeat itself.
Are Aphid Eggs Bad for Plants?
Aphids are classified as garden pests, but their eggs do not do any harm.
Whilst the eggs are laid on the plant, they don’t cause the plant direct damage. However, because of the rapid reproduction of aphids these eggs hatch quickly, and the resulting generation of aphids can be very harmful to your plants. So, whilst eggs won’t cause any immediate damage, they will once they hatch, it is best to get rid of them if you do see any aphid eggs on your plants.
How to get rid of Aphid Eggs
There are many different ways that you can get rid of aphid eggs and it is best to do so quickly if you see them. A mass of aphid eggs may indicate a fully grown population on your plant, make sure to look out for them so that you can remove the harmful adults as well.
Soap and Water
Natural soap made from oils is very good at fighting aphids. It will smother the eggs and prevent them from hatching. To use this, simply mix some natural soap with water in a spray bottle. Then apply the spray to the affected plant. Make sure to check the underside of leaves and spray there are this is a common laying place for many aphids.
Remove by Hand
It is quite easy to remove aphids and their eggs by hand, but understandably not all people want to do that. Another method is to use a power hose, the force will knock the aphid eggs off of your plant. Just be careful not to overwater your plant in the process.
There are other ways of getting rid of aphid eggs but for quick and easy results these solutions are the best. If you do make a spray bottle solution using soap or essential oils, make sure to test it on your plant. Apply it to a small area and check back in a couple of hours to see if the plant has been harmed before applying it all over.
Do Ants Steal Aphid Eggs?
Ants have been known to occasionally move aphid eggs however, this is beneficial for both aphids and ants, so it isn’t technically stealing.
Aphids produce a substance called honeydew which is a favourite food of ants. The ants will protect aphids by fighting off predators and in return, the aphids will allow the ants to ‘milk’ them for honeydew.
Sometimes, ants will move aphid eggs to their nests to protect them and as a reward, they are granted with a source of honeydew once they hatch.
Looking at everything we’ve learnt, let’s summarise the key points of this article. Aphid eggs are most commonly laid on the underside of plant leaves and in flower buds. Some aphids lay their eggs in bark crevices or in soil.
Eggs are laid in the winter and hatch in the spring to produce the new generation of aphid.
Aphid eggs don’t cause direct damage to your plant, but it is best to remove them before they hatch. You can remove them with a solution of natural soap and water. Ants will sometimes move aphid eggs into their nests to protect them and gain a source of future honeydew.
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