Plant Suckers

Being only an irregular gardener, I haven’t had much experience with real aphid infestations. But now I think I understand why the little plant suckers are so loathed. Brooklyn Bridge Park has a couple of infestations right now: red aphids on sunflowers and yellow ones on milkweeds.There are more than 1,300 species of aphids (Aphididae) in North America.
Although messy, with all that honeydew dripping around, kind of gross — they are essentially plant vampires — and quite destructive, they are nevertheless fascinating. Most species reproduce asexually. If they do reproduce sexually, it’s only once a year, with the resulting eggs over-wintering on plants which are generally different from the plants the aphids are associated with during the growing season. This is a primary and secondary host relationship.I think this may be a shed exoskeleton from a molt.Some can make their own carotenoids, hence these pretty intense colors.

Yesterday I talked about honeydew harvesting by ants. Tomorrow I’ll talk about aphid harvesting by lady beetles.

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