There are over 500 aphid species in the UK, and several are common garden pests. Typically they have pear-shaped bodies and range in colour from black to pink, though most are green or brown.
Aphids secrete honeydew, which ants love. You may see ants milking (stroking) aphids to encourage this secretion.
In spring, aphid eggs hatch into wingless females that do not mate but produce live young (a process known as parthenogenesis) – some of these young have wings and fly off to other host plants. Several generations of aphid are produced during the summer and aphid populations can increase rapidly.
In autumn, males and females are born. After mating, females lay eggs that hatch in spring. Plants infested with aphids are often distorted with weak-looking leaves and shoots.
What they eat:
Drinks plant sap from flower buds, leaves and stems.
- 1-3 mm