A fine crop of aphids are raising themselves in the Back 40. These tiny sapsuckers are a photographer’s challenge, a gardener’s nightmare. There are more and 1,300 species in North America, according to Garden Insects of North America. They generally reproduce asexually, with a sexual phase once a year (which produce over-wintering eggs). We may be looking at mostly the same species here, because they have numerous stages through the summer. Natural enemies are lady bugs, parasitic wasps, syrphid flies, midges, and lacewings, so if you have an infestation, encourage these species. Actually, they will probably come anyway, what with all this food (and hosts) on the hoof. Of course, some aphids are protected by ants, who harvest the honeydew the aphids produce as waste. The web of miniature life going on out there is wide.

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