We may call them greenfly, blackfly, whitefly or plant lice, but whatever type you have you don’t like them sucking on your plants. Aphids belong to the order of insects called Hemiptera, or the True Bugs, and they are one of the most destructive insect families. They can do immense damage to garden plants and food crops, and they reproduce at an amazingly speedy rate.
Many aphids are monophagous, which means they feed solely on one particular species of plant, whilst others aren’t all that fussy about species and they will feed on almost any plant.They feed by puncturing the plant tissue and then sucking up the sap. This can also spread viruses which can kill the plants.
But help is at hand with gardener friendly insects like ladybirds, lacewings, wasps and hoverflies, which, in their larvae state (larvae and adult with ladybirds) feed on the aphids. Crab spiders also feed on aphids.
So don’t reach for the spray gun just yet. Let nature take its course.
Photographs taken June 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire.