Understanding Aphids

Aphids are tiny little creatures that are here for one reason: to feed on your plants, breed, then feed some more! They can be found in such abundance that they are referred to as “plant lice.” Unfortunately for those in the state of Texas, they can be spotted all over the plants here.

Sap Eaters

Looking at aphids from the plant’s perspective, these creatures are truly horrific. Imagine having hundreds of these things crawling all over your body and taking away your precious sap! Aphids love, love, love to feast off of fresh shoots. They’ll completely cover newly sprouting plants. Almost as bad as their appetite is the sweet honeydew that aphids secrete. This honeydew can cause mold on your plants, yet another negative of aphids.

 

 

Anatomy

Aphids come is all sorts of colors including, but not limited to, green, red and black. There is some recent debate about where aphids get their color due to the pea aphid getting its red color from itself (a skill it ripped off from a fungus), but this Discovery article helps you understand their colors better. Most aphids simply get their color from carotenoids, which they consume from the plants they are infesting.

 

Their bodies are soft, they can shoot out defensive fluid from a pair of abdominal tubes, they have two compound eyes that allow them to see a relative large space, and they have something similar to a tail. Their size varies from aphid-to-aphid but they usually check in at 1 to 10 millimeters.

 

One of the most interesting things about (select types of) aphids is that they birth winged versions of their species when conditions on the area they are taking resources from is becoming unlivable for future aphid life. This may result from overcrowding and the wings allow their offspring to fly off to a stronger, more resourceful area to overtake yet again.

Disease and Harm

Aphids are more than a nuisance for your favorite garden plant. They can also transmit diseases to your plants! From this pest and disease control site: “Their feeding usually distorts the new growth affecting the leaves, flowers and fruit. In some crops feeding aphids can transmit viruses which can often have more impact on the crop than the actual feeding itself.”

A plant infested by aphids is an unhealthy one.

Benefits?

To play devil’s advocate (or aphid’s advocate), we’d like to go over why aphids exists and what their role is in the ecosystem. First off, aphids supply many creatures’ food by being small, easy prey targets for animals such as hummingbirds and crab spiders. Additionally, hoverflies can lay eggs into your plant’s aphid colony and those eggs will much on many of the aphids before turning into a hoverfly that will help with pollination. Either way, having an Austin tree service to come out and handle the aphid infestation on your property is highly recommended.

Stop The Aphids

By calling professionals to help look over and plan an elimination of your aphids, you’re taking the step in the right direction to make sure your plants are growing up strong and healthy. You may have also been having aphid issues and not even known it if you’ve had trouble growing any kind of tomato plant or more in your Texas garden!
Call us today to have your aphids on your lawn and garden eliminated. You can reach us at 512.310.8789. You are also able to get in touch with us for a free estimate through our online submission form.