Aphids are sap-sucking soft-bodied insects found all around the globe. Surely, aphids are horrifying to plants but do you have any dangers from them? Let’s try to find the answer and some related facts about them.
Are aphids harmful to humans?
Aphids are not harmful to humans. They have no toxic component or bitting ability to cause harm. Their needle is specialized to suck sap from plants, but it’s useless against humans. But in a broad sense, they can deal massive damage to crops and gardens, which is harmful to us.
Aphids are one of the most defenseless bugs. They don’t have any harmful effects on other bugs and animals. It only sucks sap from growing parts of the plant’s body.
What is sap? Well, sap is water and sugar that plants produce by photosynthesis. Aphids’ saliva doesn’t let the trees recover the place where it makes holes to suck.
As a result, it remains open to other plant pathogens. Aphid saliva also contains viruses that can cause serious diseases to plants.
But aphids can’t harm you no matter how hard it tries. All aphid species are harmless to humans and other animals.
Aphids secrete honeydew which is the ideal food for some fungus and molds. Those microorganisms are also harmless to humans.
Here is a list of some aphid species and their effect on humans.
Woody aphids have no harmful effect on humans. Woody aphids are less dangerous as they rarely become large enough to harm most plants. They have a mouth part named stylets and they use it to suck sap from plants.
Woody aphids form white stuff around them which protects them from predators. Woody aphids are more common in the spring season.
If your garden has woody aphids, nothing to worry about health risks. but aphids must be repelled to save the plants.
Lettuce aphids are not harmful to humans. They have many color variations. They can be green, orange, pink and brown. They are easily distinguishable from other aphids.
Lettuce aphids have no toxic nature to humans and do not cause any harm if eaten. It does not spread viruses in plants.
Lettuce aphids can feed deep inside plants and mostly younger leaves and twigs face the consequences.
They have a short lifespan and they can reproduce dramatically.
Broccoli aphids are black, suck saps from broccoli leaves. They have no potential to harm humans. They can’t bite and don’t have any harmful toxins for humans.
They are harmless even if you eat a few with your salad. Well, I am not saying eat them, but if you do there is no need to freak out, relax.
Black aphids grow so quickly in number and deal massive damage to broccoli and plants of similar species.
Black aphids are very small and oval-shaped. They are dangerous for small plants but humans and other animals have no risk from them.
They are also known as plant lice, black fly, and greenfly. Aphids don’t need a partner to reproduce. One aphid can give birth to its copy.
They have no characteristics that can save them from other animals or bugs. They rely on reproducing fast and grow bigger in number to survive.
Yellow aphids are not harmful to humans. As the name suggests they are deep to light yellow. They only feed on milkweed plants.
They are also known as oleander aphids or milkweed aphids. They are non-native bugs of the USA. They originated in the Mediterranean region.
Aphids have very interesting tactics to defend against other predator bugs. They have a mutualistic relationship with ants. Ants get honeydew from aphids and in return, they get safety from the ants.
Black cherry aphids:
Black cherry aphids are harmless to humans but for cherry growers of America, it’s a problematic bug. The black cherry aphids feed on almost all types of cherry plants.
Black cherry aphids are usually bigger than other aphid species. It can be recognized by its brown to metal black color.
Aphids usually give birth to babies. But cherry aphids form eggs in winter and babies come out in spring.
They form large colonies and can terminate plants faster than other aphid species as they are bigger.
Oleander aphids are the same as yellow aphids or milkweed aphids. They are harmless to humans but cause harm to various ornamental plants and especially milkweed plants.
Oleander aphids are obligatory pathogenic bug species. Adult oleander aphids are all female naturally. Oleander aphids can transmit papaya ringspot potyvirus, sugarcane mosaic potyvirus, and other viruses to plants.
They are a big threat to farmers as they can cause stunted plants and can infect plants all over the year.
Are aphids harmful to humans if eaten? What happens if you accidentally eat aphids?
Aphids are not harmful to humans if eaten. They taste sour to sweet depending on the species of aphids. They have no disease-causing pathogens and don’t have any harmful toxins.
It will not cause any problem if you eat an aphid-infected plant part. Nothing will happen if you eat aphids intentionally or accidentally.
Aphids are a good source of protein for other bugs. It will provide good protein if you can eat enough. Well, usually most people are not easy with an insect diet. But if you plan to, try to eat fresh aphids.
If you don’t want to eat aphids or any bugs with your veggies, soak your vegetables for 15-20 minutes. It will remove any small bugs from the vegetable.
Do aphids bite?
Aphids can’t bite. They have a needle-like mouthpart that they use to suck sap from trees. They have no teeth or jaws to bite. However, if the aphid is dumb enough to think you a tree, it can try to pierce your skin with its mouthpart but you would not even notice in most cases.
The sad part is, a radioactive aphid can’t make you an aphid man, as it can’t bite. Joking apart, you don’t need to worry about aphids biting in your garden. If you feel an aphid bitten you, it must be other bugs. Ant can be a good possibility as ants farm aphids for honeydew.
Honeydew is a very nutritious food for ants. Ants protect aphids from other bugs. And aphids serve them honeydew from their back. So, if you are touching an aphid colony, make sure the soldier ants are not around.
Can aphids cause skin irritation and rash?
Yes, aphids can cause skin irritation or allergy to allergic people. But it doesn’t happen so often. If you have an allergy, you should stay away from all kinds of bugs as you never know which one is going to be allergic to.
During aphids outbreak, they get wings and flies for a suitable place to make colonies. In that time they can trigger allergic inhalant reactions to those who have allergies.
Can aphids live in human hair?
Aphids can’t live in human hair. Only head lice are one kind of insect that lives on human hair.
Aphids live on sucking plant sap and they can’t live without it. So, there is no possibility of surviving aphids on human hair.
If you find any on your hair that may fall on your head while visiting the garden or something like that may happen. Aphids can also fly in their outbreak season.
How do you get rid of aphids permanently?
There are a lot of effective ways to get rid of aphids. But a permanent solution may be a bit tricky.
But don’t worry, if you can repel aphids once, they will need quite a bit of time to make another colony and deal considerable damage. Here is the list of aphid repellent methods. Find out the best one for you.
Use pressured water:
Use pressured water using your garden pipe directly on an aphid colony. After falling from the colony, they can’t come back to the same spot.
Collect some ladybugs from somewhere and release them in your garden. Ladybugs are brutal terminators of aphids.
neem oil, horticultural oil, and insecticides:
Spraying neem oil, horticultural oil, and insecticides are also effective against them.
Essential oil solution:
Make a solution with half a gallon of water and 7 drops of any essential oil. It will help to repel the aphids.
Spray soap water:
If you don’t have the ingredients above, just spraying soap water will do just fine. Apply it every 3 days for 2 weeks.
You can use permitted insecticides during a massive outbreak, but remember they can affect the environment and soil fertility.
Aphids are not harmful to humans. Aphids don’t and can’t bite humans. But you can munch on aphids without any problem. If you see an aphid colony in your garden, repel them before they harm your loving plants. Remove them with water using a garden pipe or spray essential oil and water solution.