Aphids: characteristics, life cycle and treatment of the pest

Aphids on the underside of the leaf

Aphids on the underside of the leaf

The aphids They are a fairly broad group of insects in which we can include the aphids, The white flies and mealybugs. These insects are part of the vast majority of pests of both crops and garden plants. They belong to the order of the Hemiptera and the suborder Homoptera. Among the aphids that most often attack gardens we have aphids.

In this article we are going to explain the characteristics of these pest-forming insects and real headaches for crops, their life cycle and how you should treat them to eliminate or prevent them.

Key features

Aphids on the underside of the leaf

Aphids on the underside of the leaf

The first of all is to know what aphids are like to be able to identify them once they begin to spread through our crops or decorative plants. The aphid can have several colors: there are yellow, green, orange, black, etc. Usually, They are so small that you have to get close to see them. Its size is 1 to 6 mm. We can find them with the naked eye if we look closely.

They are generally found in areas with higher temperatures and low humidity. Therefore, plants that are more humid that require a cool environment, are not usually attacked by aphids. Aphids are more active in the spring and summer seasons which is when the temperatures are higher and the evaporation of the water causes that there is much less humidity. Soils that are excessively fertilized can be ideal for rapid propagation. Therefore, as we will see later, it is essential to control well the doses of fertilizer that we add and always maintain a minimum of humidity, as long as the plant allows it.


Aphids on plants

aphids on plants

Its life cycle may be different depending on the plant in which it is housed. Keep in mind that they stick a bit to the life cycle of the plant in which they are living. We have the monoecia aphids, which can only live on one plant and heteroecia, which live on several plants depending on the season of the year and temperatures. This means that it is necessary to pay attention to whether the environmental conditions we have are being ideal for their reproduction and expansion or, on the other hand, we are contributing to their eradication.

With regard to reproduction, aphids have two types: viviparous and oviparous. Colonies of these insects tend to grow at breakneck speed. They spread quickly and colonize everything in a short time. The place where find aphids more accurately is on the underside of the leaf. Most of all, they like newer leaves and tender shoots. Another way to identify the presence of aphid infestation in our plant is to see if said plant has typical symptoms such as rolled and sticky leaves, bold, green and yellow spots or the presence of many ants.

There are aphids without wings and others with wings. As usual, the first generation that hatches the eggs after wintering usually does not have wings. However, after several generations, having more colonized space in the plant, it is possible that a generation will be born with wings that serve to be able to migrate to other plants and colonize even more territory.

All those hatched from eggs in spring are female. These females can live up to 25 days, in which they lay more than 80 eggs. Spring and summer reproduction is totally asexualso the male does not intervene at all.

Aphid control

Biologic control

Biologic control

One of the most effective ways to naturally treat aphids is annual crop rotation. We can plant some plants also that have resistance to aphids such as etruscan honeysuckle, nettle or lavender.

On the other hand, we can also use some insects as natural enemies. It is also known as auxiliary fauna:

  • Species of the genus Aphidius
  • Neuroptera larvae and adults
  • Coccinellid beetles
  • Diptera larvae
  • Some Hymenoptera they are also predators of the aphid

Other things we can do to control the spread of these insects is to use soapy water. It is a perfect ecological treatment to combat them. The affected plants should be sprayed with a tablespoon of neutral soap diluted in a liter of water. We can also boil two cups of water with the peel of an orange. Leaving it to rest for 24 hours, straining it and adding 50/50 white soap, you can spray on the affected plants.

We are going to analyze some home remedies that have worked quite well. As we always try here, it is better to treat pests and diseases with ecological and natural remedies. In this way we do not use any chemicals that can contaminate our garden. We have these remedies:

  • They catch two large onions for every liter of water. Boil for 10 minutes and let them cool. When straining it, we can spray with this liquid.
  • With garlic there are several possibilities. The first thing is to plant it near the affected areas. We can cut them in halves or whole. On the other hand, we can prepare a water to spray the plants, we boil 8 medium garlic cloves in a liter of water for 20 minutes. It is advisable to let it rest for about a day before using it.
  • With the nettle, We can macerate 100 grams of leaves for 15 days. We will move the mixture daily. After straining it all, we can use it. This mixture, although slow, not only serves to kill aphids, but also strengthens the plants and helps make them more resistant to pests and diseases.
  • Tomato leaves we can boil them for 15 minutes. Leaving them to rest overnight and straining them, we can spray on the aphids.
  • Horsetail It is not only recommended to strengthen the plant, but also to combat this pest. It is ideal to apply in the spring time to face the high temperatures of summer.

As you can see, there are numerous natural remedies to combat this pest. What we must always bear in mind is that it is essential to maintain good conditions in the garden. If we see leaves or fruits in bad condition, it is better to remove them immediately, before it contaminates the rest. I hope this information helps you treat aphids.

Aphids: characteristics, life cycle and treatment of the pest

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