Do aphids come in red?

doucanoeJune 24, 2008

I know aphids can be green or white, but I found a ton of bright red insects on my helianthus. I sprayed with an insecticide made from mint oil, citronella oil, thyme oil and such this morning.

Hope it helps, but I am really not sure what these could be if not aphids.


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selkie_b(z4 MN)

Last summer I had a plague of red aphids on my milkweed (of all places)- the big swath by the telephone pole - it isn't there anymore, they totally trashed it. I had really fat and sassy ladybugs too, but they couldn't keep up. I think the aphids were also slightly toxic, seemed not a lot could eat them when they reached a certain size. The ants were "grazing" huge "flocks". This year the population has crashed, thank goodness! And there is more butterfly weed and nicer milkweed in the rest of that butterfly garden now too - so the monarch cats are munching away happily.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 10:15AM
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I have had the same bugs on the same plant...I don't know if they are aphids or what, they did seem fairly easy to get rid of, and they did not appear on many other plants. They totally freaked me out though. Thanks for the post though cause I will start looking for them, they usually do not show up till later in the summer.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 10:23AM
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Thanks, Marie and Helen!

Re-reading my post I realize the title sounds like I am shopping for a pair of shoes! LOL

So far I think the spray I used is taking care of them, whatever they are. I hope I don't start finding them all over the garden!


    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 3:29PM
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I had them on my helianthus as well, I blasted them off with my hose, they haven't returned. I've had lots of grasshoppers too again this year, and spittle bugs, what a funny name. Always something new.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 7:20AM
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erinmn(4 MN)

Had a bunch of aphids on my spirea this spring and wickedly enjoyed killing them with a bowl of soapy water that I'd dip infested stem ends into. It was chock-full-o-aphids by the end. Now I have those cool ladybug nymphs or whatever the stripy juvenile versions are called. I've been transfering them from one plant to the next as needed. Go ladybugs go!

And Linda, I do think they come in red if you were still interested. It's patent, hope that's okay! ;-)

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 12:38PM
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I just finished doing battle with an infestation of red aphids on my heliopsis. I say "doing battle" because as I was removing the affected vegetation, the bugs that got squished have left blood-like stains all over me. I hope that they are as easy to get rid of as everyone seems to concur in this forum!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 12:15PM
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chevy57red(3/4 MN)

While reading this thread, I find myself intrigued by all of your comments.
I too have been unindated with these seeming "red aphids".
If you look really hard for the adult in the swarms, you may find yourself hosting the next population of boxelder bugs.
That is what I am finding the last 3 years running.
I don't use a lot of insecticides here, but find a solution of bleach water takes care of them.
Could these be what you are now seeing?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 6:24AM
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I guess I have a strong stomach this morning, so I looked up red aphids on the net and found this article, scroll down the page to 'Aphid wolf attacks ant cows'. That is what the red bugs on my helopsis looked like, and the plant pictured resembles heliopsis as well. The young boxies are longer and narrower. The reason to care is that the boxies don't really harm anything, the aphids are another matter. Helen.

Here is a link that might be useful: Whats that bug

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 9:06AM
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I agree with Helen. The bugs on my plants are definitely not box elder bugs according to all the pictures I could find on the internet. They are the red aphids "ant cows" that are pictured on Helen's link. I love the whimsy of the term "ant cow"!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 10:34AM
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I was confused last year, helianthus suffered a major infestation of red aphids, and I had thought that they only came in green or white.

I tried blasting them off with water, and I tried a homemade soap spray, but the plants turned sooty, and nothing seemed to fix the infestation. Then I read that aphids are born pregnant, and gave up trying anything. How could I compete with that??? Besides, 12 years of catholic school ensures that I automatically respect a virgin birth.

I keep checking this year, and so far, so good. It's still early though...


    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 6:06PM
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Joanna, thanks for the best laugh I have had today...started picturing little halos over all the aphids.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 8:04PM
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Thanks, Chevy, but they were definitely not boxelder bugs. I have seen enough of those in my lifetime to be sure of that! LOL

They are gone now after I sprayed the helianthus, but the plant looks pretty bad. Unfortunately they thoroughly enjoyed their "last meal".


    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 11:30AM
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Last year I too thought I had red aphids, I brought a couple to the U campus in St Paul (practically next door)and was told they were immature box elder bugs, and sure enough we have a big mess of both the mamas and babies this year

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 7:22PM
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selkie_b(z4 MN)


But baby boxelder bugs do NOT get shepherded by ants, ooze sticky nasty stuff all over everything, or devastate entire patches of milkweed or other plants :) And yes, aphids DO come in red...


    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 12:57PM
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I wanted to reintroduce the topic if I may. Is this the red Aphid?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 11:06PM
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Sure looks like red aphids. They attacked my Helianthus again. I sprayed them again. I dug up the helinthus and am pitching it....too much trouble.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2013 at 7:42PM
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Yes that is what they are!! I get them when ever the farmer near me plants sow beans. I do not get them the years he plants corn.. I spray with an insecticide and they are gone. They seem to like my DYF's i.e. heliopsis. One year the infestation spread to other perennials in the same bed,so I do my best to catch them ASAP.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 7:13AM
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capecodder(z6 MA)

I have red aphids all over my heliopsis...first year I've ever seen them. I've never sprayed before, but had to do something...I went through a whole bottle of sevin and it did basically nothing. Now I'm spraying with soapy water with a little vegetable oil added, and am making some progress.
The plants do look bad, though, and I've pulled a bunch out, and cut back some too.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 9:41AM
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