Another name for the insects known as “aphids” is “plant lice”. They are green or brownish in color, and the largest ones are not more than six millimeters long. Aphids reproduce so rapidly that if they were not destroyed by their natural enemies, they would eat up nearly all the vegetation in the world! Aphids may be found on the leaves, roots, and young stems of many kinds of plants.
They often do serious damage to fruit trees, flowers, vegetables, and field crops. They have unusually strong mouths, or beaks, which stick out from their tiny heads. With these they puncture the surface of the leaf and suck out its juices, thus causing the plant to wither and possibly die.
One of the most curious things about the aphids is that they serve as “ants’ cows”. Ants can actually “milk” them as if they were a sort of cow. What happens is that the aphids produce their bodies a sweet liquid called “honeydew”. Ants love to drink this liquid.
So ants capture aphids and take care of them, just as a farmer might take care of his cows. The ants carry the aphid to the ant nest, supply it with plenty of green plants on which to feed, and protect it carefully from danger. When an ant wants to milk its cow, it strokes the aphid’s sides gently with its long feelers. Then, as the tiny drops of honeydew flow from the rear of the aphid, the ant drinks the liquid! Man, however, has no interest in protecting these insects, so plants are often sprayed with chemicals to destroy them.
Can You Use Vinegar To Kill Aphids?
Get out a spray bottle and fill it three of the way with distilled white vinegar and the rest of the way with water. This will kill the aphids.