Vegetable Garden

Wednesday Wigglers ~ Aphids

March 28, 2011

The aphid group includes all aphids, blackfly and greenfly and are definitely FOE.

Greenfly on roses

Aphids on roses

They vary from green, pink, and yellow, black, greyish-white to brown and are about 2mm long. Most of us would be familiar with greenfly on our roses or blackfly on our  broad beans.

Blackbean Aphid

Black bean Aphid

What are aphids?

Aphids are sap sucking insects and produce honeydew that sooty mould can form on. They attack exposed parts of plants and roots. They can spread virus and ants farm them.

Aphid Life cycle

A newborn becomes a reproducing adult at one week old and can then produce five offspring per day for up to 30 days.  Aphids can reproduce asexually. As it’s babies all have babies after just one week, by the time the first newborn reaches the end of its reproductive life there could be 1,590,155 of the little devils! Just to make matters worse they can overwinter too unless we experience very cold temperatures.

How can we manage aphids?

Limnanthes (poached egg flower) excellent companion flower as attracts hoverflies

Limnanthes (poached egg flower) excellent companion flower that attracts hoverflies

Companion planting can encourage beneficial insects and predators such as hoverfly and lacewing larvae into gardens. Insecticidal soap is very effective but kill beneficial insects too so should be used with caution. Protective cloches can be places over crops to prevent aphids infesting them but as the little insects are so tiny they would be very difficult to stop.  Squashing them between your fingers or spraying them off plants with a blast of water from the hose works well too but you have to check the plants daily to prevent a major infestation occurring.



  • Reply Mr. H. March 29, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    Aphids are one of our biggest issues when growing brassicas, I had no idea how fast they could reproduce…no wonder I can't ever get rid of them. The past two years have not been nearly as bad though as the lady bugs have started showing up in droves, hope the same happens this season.

  • Reply Greenside Up March 29, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Encouraging the preditors like ladybirds and hoverfly (and whatever else you may have that we don't) is a great idea but, as you say, takes a while to build up. I agree, they're a blooming nuisance!

  • Reply Not Everything Green in the Garden is good ~ Aphids September 30, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    […] it can be done. If you’d like to know more about their rapid breeding cycle take a look at an old Wednesday Wiggler blog post here. There’s also a blog post written here about mealy cabbage aphids you might like to check […]

  • Reply 12 garden pests we don't want to see among our veggies April 30, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    […] love our roses and they love our broad beans and they breed like mad. Here’s a post all about them with a few suggestions on how to keep on top of […]

  • Reply How to Grow Blueberries & Bake Healthy Blueberry MuffinsGreenside Up January 25, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    […] Aphids can be a problem too. Read here for more information about these little greenfly. […]

  • Reply cathsveggies1 May 21, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    Just found them little critters on my sweet peppers today…I am in war mood with making a garlic spray overnight now!

    • Reply Dee Sewell May 22, 2015 at 4:24 pm

      Just keep an eye out for the ladybird larvae Cath! Best of luck 🙂

  • Reply Organic gardening and cabbage mealy aphidsGreenside Up July 9, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    […] Aphid eggs can over winter, so throwing the plants into my not very hot compost heap wouldn’t have killed them. I could have sprayed them with a homemade insecticidal soap or rubbed them off between my fingers. I could have blasted them with the spray of the hose, but they were getting enough blasting from the rain. Because the infestation was so bad and the plants looked so unappetising, I ended up cutting my losses and pulling them out. I don’t think even chemicals would have convinced me that I wanted to eat the plants. […]

  • Reply Niamh Pedreschi June 21, 2021 at 10:20 pm

    Hi Dee have noticed we have lots and lots of these on an Elderberry bush, along with one ladybird. What do you suggest so they don’t spread to the rest of the garden?

    • Reply Dee Sewell September 14, 2021 at 10:27 am

      Hi Niamh, apologies for the delay in replying, am sure you’ve discovered an answer by now! Very difficult to stop them but try planting your garden with as many hoverfly and ladybird attracting plants as possible. The RHS is a great resource to help you find them.


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