Did you know that aphids not only can reproduce asexually - without males - they can also give live birth to pregnant females? A female aphid can live for about 25 days and during that time can produce 50-80 new aphids. When you see an aphid with wings, the population has reached mass and the winged females are born to fly to a new host plant to begin a new colony.
Aphids suck! Literally.
The first obvious symptom of an aphid infestation is seeing the insects on the plant.
The pests suck the plant juices and excrete a sticky honeydew which can further attract ants and also grow fungi. The sucking of the plant sap weakens the plant and can cause twisting or curling and in extreme cases leaf loss. Aphids are also carriers and transmitters of many plant viruses.
Treatment and prevention
If you have a history of aphids, plan to introduce predators into your IPM system as early as possible in the growing season.
Initially, multiple applications are suggested. 7-14 day intervals for 3 consecutive applications. This gives the predators a better chance to establish a population with staggered life cycles.
Using decoy crops such as bush beans are always suggested.
Clean up of plant debris between cycles is important.
Predator insects that prey on aphids are easy to find.
Any of the insects listed as general predators will dine on tasty aphids but depending on your growing situation, some are better suited than others.
Aphidoletes are the best option first.
Micromus (brown lacewing)