The aphid it is one of the parasites that most frequently causes damage to plants (if not the most). He loves warm environments, and if the crops are thirsty … they will go without think about it twice.
Its multiplication is also very fastto the point that one day you see a single specimen, and after two weeks you already have a significant plague. But don’t worry what it can be avoided. We tell you how .
What is it?
Aphid it is an insect that hemiptera belonging to the Aphididae family (aphids or aphids), which is composed of 4700 described species. It originated a long time ago, in the Cretaceous, 100 million years ago, and it is so well adapted that it will surely continue to exist forever.
It is a small, almost tiny insect, measuring no more than a few millimeters, and with a body that is usually green, yellow or brown, but can also be black. It is ovoid in shape, and the head, thorax, and abdomen are apparently indistinguishable. Depending on the species, it will or will not have wings; in the first case they will be membranous wings, transparent and generally with a spot.
Towards the end of the abdomen it has two siphons that are erect appendages through which they pour repellent substances from their natural predators. Through the anus it secretes a sugary substance product of digestion that attracts ants, with whom it has established a symbiotic relationship that benefits both (he keeps them fed while they take care of protecting him).
Types of aphids
Aphids are classified depending on their host plant / s or their way of reproduction:
- According to the host plant:
- Monoecias: are those that live only on one plant.
- Heteroecias: they are the ones that alternate.
- According to its way of reproduction:
- Viviparous: they are the ones who “give birth” to live young.
- Oviparous: they are those that lay eggs. These spend the winter like eggs, and those that see the light in spring. They are said to have a holocyclic life cycle.
Monoecious species with holocyclic cycles
These species of aphids always live on the same plant, and produce a sexed generation, which appears in spring, and asexual, which appear later in autumn.
Heterocytic species and with holocyclic cycles
These generations of aphids begin by hatching from the eggs in the spring that were deposited by a female on a certain plant. Then, these migrate to other hosts, where they will give rise to a different plague than the first one in autumn.
What symptoms and damage does it cause to plants?
The aphid, being an insect that feeds on the sap of leaves, flower buds and tender branches, can cause serious problems to crops and plants in general. In addition, the honeydew it secretes attracts ants, which by serving as a protective shield allows it to multiply quickly. So that, the symptoms and damage it causes are:
- General weakness
- Wilting of the leaves
- Growth slowdown or suspension
- Sad look
Why does it affect my crops?
Aphids are opportunistic parasites that do not hesitate to take advantage of the slightest sign of plant weakness to weaken them. Because, excess or lack of irrigation, lack of nutrients, high temperatures, and / or a dry environment are the reasons why we will have no choice but to treat themsince otherwise if the plague advances we could find ourselves in the situation of ending up throwing them into the compost heap. And trust me, it’s not a pleasant experience, let’s say.
How to eliminate aphids?
They are especially effective both to prevent and when the plague is not yet very advanced, that is, we have aphids but there are few:
- Repellent plants: as the nettle, lupine, honeysuckle or the foxglove. Beautiful, easy to care for, and protective against aphids, what more could you ask for?
- Nettle infusion: we take 500 grams of fresh nettles and put them in a 5l bucket with water. Then, we cover said container with a plastic and we are stirring. When it is decomposed, we strain it and let it rest for between 12 and 24 hours.
- Natural enemies: the ladybug is a devourer of aphids, but also the lacewing and wasps. Do not doubt plant flowers that attract them.
- Pharmacy water and alcohol: with a brush soaked in water and alcohol, we are cleaning the aphid plants. Of course, this is only possible if the plant is small.
- Pruning: if the pest only affects a specific part, such as the flower buds, what we can do is cut these buds. Then we sprinkle with diatomaceous earth (for sale here!) and ready.
- Yellow adhesive traps: These are traps that are placed near plants that attract aphids and other pests, such as whiteflies. They are sold here!.
Chemical remedies against aphids
When the plague is very advanced, we will have to use specific insecticidesfollowing the instructions specified on the package to the letter.
I hope you have learned a lot about these insects .