How Do Aphids Reproduce? {Do They Clone Themselves?}

Are you seeing how fast aphid infestations develop? Do you wonder, “How Do Aphids Reproduce?”

Can they clone themselves? Are they even mating? Do they lay eggs or give birth to live offspring?

This article aims to explain how aphids reproduce.

How Do Aphids Reproduce?

Aphids reproduce by a process known as thelytokous parthenogenesis during the spring and summer. The climate must be hot and the days need to be long.

A female can asexually reproduce live births instead of laying eggs over the fall and winter seasons. Males and oviparous females can mate and fertilize eggs in the winter.

Aphids reproduce at a rapid rate when they produce live offspring during the growing season. It’s like they are cloning themselves during this time as they are born pregnant in most cases and do not need to mate.

How Do Aphids Reproduce So Quickly?

Aphids are able to reproduce quickly because they skip a step. Female aphid mothers are viviparous. This means that they can give birth to live young during the summer or spring seasons.

In other seasons they lay eggs. During peak seasons, the offspring that are born live can reach maturity faster because they do not need to hatch from eggs.

How Fast Can Aphids Multiply?

Aphids can multiply much faster when the weather is warmer. A newborn nymph can develop to reproduce as an adult in as short as 7 to 8 days.

Adult aphids can reproduce as fast as 80 offspring in the matter of 7 days. This is why aphids increase their population rapidly in the insect world.

Why Do Aphids Use Asexual Reproduction?

Aphids can use asexual reproduction during spring and summer seasons. During this time the female aphid doesn’t need to to lay eggs.

She can produce up to 20 asexual generations under favorable climate conditions. When an aphid mother is viviparous, she is able to asexually reproduce at a rapid rate during warmer seasons.

Do Aphids Lay Eggs in Soil?

Aphids do not lay eggs during the spring and summer seasons. These seasons are called the growing season. During this time, aphid mothers are able to give live births to their offspring.

Over the winter, aphids lay eggs in soil. They can also attach eggs to leaves and stems above roots. These eggs can hatch and fall to the surface of the soil.

Aphids can bore into the roots of plants. When they do so, they leave plants vulnerable to diseases or mildew.

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Do Aphids Reproduce by Budding?

The reproduction process that aphids undergo is called parthenogenesis. This means they can give birth to unfertilized eggs. Only 2,000 or so species can perform this type of reproduction. This gives aphids the advantage of reproducing rapidly.

Budding also refers to asexual reproduction similar to aphids, but this is prevalent in the plant kingdom. A new plant can grow or bud from cell division instead of sexual reproduction.

What is An Aphid’s Life Cycle?

Aphid eggs are attached to plants over the winter. They hatch as nymphs during the spring. Nymphs produce eggs asexually during the growth season which is in the spring and summer.

More nymphs can grow to maturity in less than a week during the growing season. This is because they do not need to hatch from eggs.

In the fall, the nymphs will grow to become adults that need to lay eggs instead of giving birth to live offspring. During this time male aphids will help to fertilize the eggs that attach to plants for the life cycle to repeat itself.

Are Aphids Born Pregnant?

Yes. Most aphid species consist of females that are born pregnant. They can deliver live offspring during the growing season which lies in spring and summer. They can do so without mating or requiring males to fertilize the eggs.

This is the parthenogenetic method which bypasses the reduction division. Aphids are nuisance pests that are capable of intensely rapid infestations because of their rapid rate of reproduction.

How Do Aphid Eggs Look Like?

Aphid eggs are elliptical in shape which you may notice attached to stems or leaves of plants. You may not notice this during the spring and summer because aphids give birth to live offspring.

Over the winter you may see aphid eggs ranging in different colors including yellow, orange and black. Aphid nymphs hatch from these elliptical shaped eggs.

The craziest part of aphid reproduction is that they are literally cloning themselves without mating during hot, long spring and summer days without the need to mate or lay eggs.

Can Aphids Reproduce Without Mating?

Yes. Parthenogenesis is a type asexual reproduction that doesn’t require mating. This happens during the spring and summer for aphids.

1. Wingless females can hatch from eggs in the spring that have been overwintered.
2. She is now able to reproduce during hotter and longer days with the need for a male mate.
3. This is a time when female aphids do not need to reproduce males.
4. They continue to deliver live female offspring that are born pregnant.
5. They can do this for 20 generations.
6. Males are only needed over the fall and winter.
7. During this time, females lay eggs which males fertilize as they are attached to plants.
8. Overwintering occurs once again and these eggs hatch in the spring.

Why Do Aphids Give Birth To Live Young?

Aphids can save time during their most active seasons when the weather is hot and days are long by skipping a step in their reproduction cycle. The mother aphids are viviparous, allowing them to give birth to live young.

This gives their offspring a leg up in their growth process. The nymphs can mature to adulthood in as little as a week. No hatching from eggs is needed during this time so they can focus on their aim to rapidly multiply.

During the winter, the need is not as urgent. Eggs are laid to overwinter and become fertilized by males. They hatch in the spring to females who are born pregnant or viviparous as they are capable of reproducing live young very quickly.

Do Aphids Develop Wings?

Aphids spend most of their living off a plant that hosts them. This is why you won’t see them flying around much. Walking or crawling is good enough for most aphids during this time.

It takes less energy to not fly around. Wingless aphids are conserving their resources. It takes more protein to produce wings. If food resources are low, they will not do so.

If the host plant is getting too crowded with too many aphids, they will need to spread out and find more food sources. This means new generations of aphids will need to develop wings and find a new host.

Why Are There Aphids Flying Around My Garden?

Aphids are looking for a new host plant. They have hormonal triggers that go off when they realize that a host plant is running out of sap or nutrients.

This is when they must fight or flight. Instead of competing with their massive community of aphids that continue to develop and reproduce, they produce wings and take flight.

This is why you are noticing aphids flying around. Their aim is to find new host plants and produce new populations.

What Do Aphids Do In the Winter?

During the winter many aphids freeze to death. Some aphids survive the dipping temperatures and shorter days by developing wings. The aim is to lay eggs that attach to plants over the winter.

Males and females will use their wings to mate, fertilize eggs and attach them to the stems or leaves of a plant. They search for new host plants to carry on to new generations.

Once the weather is warmer, they will not need to produce winged aphids who will spend most their time feeding off a host plant.

What Time of Year Are Aphids Most Active?

Aphids are able to be most active during the spring and fall seasons. During the summer, you will find aphids motionless or happily comfortable to remain on a host plant without moving much.

In the spring they are looking to find that host plant. The plant must contain enough juices, sap or nectar to allow for nutrition to pass on to the parasitic aphids. Unfortunately the aphids fit transmit plant diseases and cause them to die.

Conclusion

Aphids are one of 2,000 known species in the insects or animals world to give birth without mating or fertilizing of eggs.

They skip this step in the spring and fall, but return to conventional egg laying and fertilizing over the fall and winter. The entire life cycle of an aphid is ramped up to overdrive during long and hot summer days.

They want to overtake host plants and drain them out. We need to actively discourage this in our gardens by spraying the tops and bottoms of leaves with neem oil and water or vinegar and dish soap mixed with water.

 

Thanks for visiting ThePestManagement.com for the best information to help you to make the pest control process easy, safe & affordable.

Brian Arial

I have worked in a pest control company for the last 4 years and have learned a lot since I joined and want to share the things I have learned here.