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Home > Bugs > Bugs of Flowers > Aphids


Aphids are sucking insects which draw great quantities of sap, causing leaves and stems to become distorted. This distorted growth may be mistaken as herbicide injury. Some plant sap is excreted as honeydew, which makes the plant sticky. Sidewalks, cars, and patio furniture may become wet with honeydew. A sooty mold often grows in the honeydew and blackens stems, leaves and other surfaces. Aphids attack a wide variety of plants; most species feed on one or a few species of closely related plants.


aphids on begonia aphids on lettuce aphids on iris
Aphids may be green, black, brown, red, pink, or some other color. These pear-shaped insects are slow moving and range in size from 1/16 to 1/8 inch long. Dense colonies of aphids may be found along stems or on the underside of a leaf. Several generations may occur and populations can build up quickly.

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[Photos, left to right: Jim Baker, North Carolina State University,; Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,; Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,]

It is the policy of the State of Maine to minimize reliance on pesticides. The Maine Department of Agriculture and the Maine IPM Council encourage everyone to practice integrated pest management and to use pesticides only as a last resort. The mention of pesticides in the fact sheets linked to these pages does not imply an endorsement of any product. Be sure that any product used is currently registered and follow all label directions.