Aphids (Photo credit: scyrene)

Also known as greenflies, blackflies or whiteflies, aphids are small sap sucking insects. Most aphids have soft bodies, which may be green, black, brown, pink or almost colourless. This common garden pest characteristically has antennae, long/thin legs, and two compound eyes. Aphids feed themselves through modified sucking mouthparts.

In temperate regions, Aphids are among the most destructive insect pests. Their damage to plants, and in particular commercial crops, has resulted in a large amount of pest control services and exterminating efforts, being applied to control the activities of aphids. The aphid’s removal of sap, creates a lack of vigour in the plant, and their saliva is toxic to most garden plants. Furthermore, aphids frequently transmit disease-causing organisms, like plant viruses; to their unsuspecting plant hosts. Plants exhibiting aphid damage can have a variety of symptoms, such as decreased growth rates, mottled leaves, yellowing, stunted growth, curled leaves, browning, wilting, low yields and death.

Approximately two-hundred and fifty species of aphids are known to create serious pest control problems, for the agriculture and forestry Industries, as well as cause a common annoyance; for homeowners and gardeners. There are various insecticides that can be used to control aphids, however homeowners may want to consider plant extracts and plant products that are eco-friendly, and control aphids as effectively as chemical treatments. For example, beneficial insects and natural exterminators of aphids, include predatory ladybugs, “aphid lions” (the larvae of green lacewings) and lacewings.

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