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Gardeners and gardeners often meet the characteristic small enemies of cultivated plants, which can be difficult to spot immediately due to their miniature size.
It is no less difficult to deal with them because of their large numbers.
If you notice that the leaves, young shoots, buds or flowers of potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage are covered with a swarming mass of small, often wingless insects, this means that aphids attacked your landings.
About where it comes from, where the aphid hibernates and what actions to take to combat in this case, read this article.
What does it look like?
Aphids are insects from the Hemiptera order, there are more than 4000 species, about 1000 species of aphids live within Europe.
These are miniature creatures, with a body length from 0.5 mm to 7 mm, but more often not more than 3 mm, the shape of the body resembles a drop, pointed at the rear end. Look at the photo on the right for what aphids look like.
Descriptions of insects vary. Depending on the conditions of existence, they can be wingless or have 2 pairs of transparent wings, with the rear pair always shorter than the front. Pictures with their images can be found below in this material. Aphids on leaves can completely destroy a tree or plant.
The color is very diverse - black, green, pink, red, or even an insect is completely transparent. The head has dark eyes and a pair of antennae.
Is there a useful We will find out aphids further.
Photo of aphids
How do they reproduce?
Aphid propagation is as follows. Aphids overwinter in the form of an egg, deposited in a secluded place - on the roots of plants or in the cracks in the bark of a tree.
In the spring, a wingless founding female of the colony emerges from the egg, and begins to give birth to live larvae, from which also only wingless virgin females emerge.
They got such an interesting name because that they do not need a male to give birth to a larva, and in the summer they only give birth to females. About how long aphids live, read on.
Reproducing rapidly - a one virgin female lives for about a month and gives birth to 50 to 100 larvae - aphids form a colony.
The aphid larva is a smaller copy of an adult and grows rapidly, periodically shedding its skin. After 10-15 days, a new specimen is also ready to breed.
When colony size becomes critical, winged virgin females are born and, flying to other plants, give rise to new colonies. And only in the fall, with the onset of unfavorable conditions, real females are born in the colony and real males capable of mating and laying eggs, which will hibernate.
Over the summer, up to 20 generations often occur from one founder, and her offspring number in the hundreds of thousands.
How and what does it eat?
Each individual is equipped with a piercing proboscis for feeding with plant sap. Some aphids feed on only one type of plant, some on two, and many can suck the juices out of a whole group of suitable plants.
Excess swallowed juice is released in the form of a sticky sugar droplet - honeydew or honeydew (or aphid milk), which ants like to eat.
So ants protect aphids from predators and parasites and can even transfer them to other plants, and in winter they arrange them in an anthill.
Where do they come from?
A large number of aphid species live in nature and some of them switched to cultivated plants. What are the causes or what causes aphids?
Most often, aphids fall into plantings with new ones, not tested for infestation by plants. An old, unkempt site always contains a large number of aphids and infects neighboring areas.
Moreover, ants help aphids to settle, transferring them to new plants.
Why are they dangerous?
The damage caused by aphids is quite large. New colonies form on the underside of the leaves, so it is not immediately possible to notice them.
Aphids release toxins that change the shape of the plant's organs. First of all, aphids affect young shoots, buds, flowers The leaves begin to curl, the buds fall off without opening, the flowers become curly, the fruits are not tied.
With a high number of colonies, the growth of crops may be suspended. Spots or a yellow mesh appear on the leaves, the discharge from the honeydew contaminates the leaves and interferes with the normal absorption of light, in addition, black sooty fungus or other molds settle on them.
Shoots affected by aphids are weakened and freeze more in winter. Such plants are more likely to get sick. Aphid infestation can kill a cultivated plant.
Some species of aphids form galls - tumors on the shoots, from which ulcers subsequently form, which can lead to the death of the plant.
A great danger - aphids can carry dozens of plant viruses!
Who is attracted to or who eats the pest?
Some insects are natural enemies of aphids. and songbirds. Feathers can be attracted by feeders and berry bushes.
Among insects it is worth mentioning ladybirds, lacewings, certain types of equestrians - the genera Aphelinus, Aidius, Lysiflebus, Praop, Matricaria, hoverflies, praying mantises, predatory gall midge, ground beetles, earwigs.
Ladybug and lacewing eggs can be bought in garden centers or order by mail. Ladybug and wasps eat aphids. Beneficial insects can be retained and increased by if you do not use or use little chemical insecticides. Learn more in the article "Chemical means of fighting aphids".
Planting plants that are attractive to these insects should also give good results.
These are spicy, umbrella, leguminous plants such as tansy, yarrow, dill, fennel, mint, nettle, lavender, clover, alfalfa and others.
Ground beetle prefers nightshade plants, earwigs love to settle in flower pots with wood shavings, such pots can be laid out under trees, hover flies happily feed on daisy pollen. Effective in the fight against aphids and folk remedies.
What is he afraid of?
The smell of some plants is not acceptable to aphids - these are onions, garlic and Dalmatian chamomile. If you plant or put Dalmatian chamomile in pots next to the seedlings, the aphids will disappear.
But there are plants, on the contrary, very attractive to aphids, a kind of "red herring".
These are nasturtium, kosmeya, poppy, mallow, tuberous begonias, as well as viburnum and linden. Alternating their landings, you can reduce the likelihood of aphid attack for garden and horticultural crops.
Plant species that attract aphids should not be planted next to protected ones. Although sometimes nasturtiums are planted around fruit trees, so that aphids immediately settle on them. In the future, herbaceous plants, together with colonies of aphids, can be easily mowed and destroyed.
There are also various methods and ways to get rid of aphids: agrotechnical, biological, mechanical and chemical.
You can learn more about them. in the article "Methods and methods of aphid control".
We examined the biology of one of the most dangerous parasites of cultivated plants, from what plant aphids and briefly described the possible methods and means of fighting against aphids. Read also the material "The best folk remedies against aphids 1" and "The best folk remedies against aphids 2".
It is due to its high fertility that the small defenseless insect is a serious problem for agriculture.
But by competently applying both the principles of organic gardening and industrial insecticides, you can count on successful cleansing of your field or garden from the pesky enemies of the harvest.