There’s a wide range of aphids in the world. Many of the species are found in North America.
Aphids feed on plant sap. They can also consume large amounts of leaf sap from trees and vegetables.
These bugs have a detrimental role being some of the biggest pests on multiple trees or legumes in North America.
Some aphids are deterred by using proven insecticides for a particular species. Others might only be controlled by pruning, crop rotation techniques, or manually removing them from trees.
You can also keep aphids away by introducing predatory species such as ladybird beetles.
Aphids are small pear-shaped bugs that feed on large amounts of plant sap. They produce honeydew and they infest trees, flowers, legumes, and other plants.
A size between 1 and 6mm is characteristic of aphids found in North America.
Aphid coloring varies from pink-red to green, yellow, brown, or black.
Most aphids have no major impact on plants while others can lead to stunted growth or they may even kill plants.
Types of Aphids
Various types of aphids have been thoroughly documented in North America and around the world.
1. Oleander Aphid
Oleander Aphids (Aphis nerii) are some of the most common aphids in the world. The species is known by a few other names including The Milkweed Aphid.
It has a yellow color or a yellow-orange color with black contrasting legs.
The species is a common pest of many plants and it’s best known for living on milkweed.
Aphids of this genus can invade plants as they multiply rapidly.
All Oleander aphids are females and they are ready to lay fertilized eggs which is the main reason behind their rapid growth in temperate regions of the world.
2. Witch-hazel Cone Gall Aphid
This type of aphid (Hormaphis hamamelidis) has an atypical life. It starts life as an egg on witch hazel leaves.
A cone-shaped gall signals the presence of the pest aphid on its leaves.
These galls are detrimental to the plant but protective for the species.
Overwintering as a gall is specific to this species.
Emerging adults move on to birch leaves which they consume in considerable amounts.
A large amount of honeydew is also seen on birch leaves following their presence.
In turn, this attracts many other insects to birch, making this species one of the most detrimental to the tree.
3. Woolly Alder Aphid
Alder and silver maple are the main tree hosts of Wooly Alder Aphids (Prociphilus tessellatus).
These aphids feed on tree sap and they also consume the leaves of their host tree.
Native to Eastern US territories, these aphids also have a unique fuzzy look.
Almost completely white, these aphids have wax-making glands in their abdomens.
They produce waxy filaments that cover and protect their bodies.
Some aphids of this family may even overwinter in an adult stage on their host tree as a result.
High amounts of honeydew and plenty of sooty molds are traces these aphids leave behind at the end of the fall.
4. Beech Blight Aphid
Beech Blight Aphids (Grylloprociphilus imbricator) are named after their common hosts, beech trees.
These aphids have a waxy white appearance with multiple wax-like filaments covering their dark blue bodies.
You can see these aphids on tree leaves due to their contrasting white coloring.
Minimal damages are characteristic of this species. Most trees survive even large populations of these aphids.
Various preventive methods are proven against the species. Horticultural oil sprays are among the most common treatment against the species.
Most aphids of this family don’t need species preventive measures as they’re consumed by predators.
5. Manzanita Leafgall Aphid
These aphids (Tamalia coweni) are named after the manzanitas they live and feed on.
Native to Western North America, the species lay eggs on manzanitas which then grow into large red galls.
An oval shape is specific to these galls.
Known for their dark color with black stripes on the back, these aphids are a common sight across California.
They’re also seen in regions around The Mojave Desert as well as in gardens with decorative manzanitas.
Removing these aphids from the host plant is recommended. Manzanitas are a disappearing species that can suffer from high aphid populations.
6. Rose Aphid
Rose Aphids (Macrosiphum rosae) are named after the rose bush they feed on.
These aphids come in different colors which include pink, green, and red. Multiple aphids of various colors are seen on a single rose bush.
The species has a detrimental rose on roses as they feed on stems and flowers.
Growing to a size of up to 1.14 inches, these aphids are most damaging at the beginning of the summer months, a period when roses bloom.
June and July are the months when the species has the highest chances of appearing in your garden on roses or other flowers.
7. Sumac Gall Aphid
This type of aphid (Melaphis rhois) is known for the red gall it produces on its host plants.
Various types of sumac such as staghorn sumac plants are its hosts. The plant is green and red, a nuance similar to the gall this aphid produces.
The gall grows after female Sumac Gall Aphids lay an egg on a leaf.
Females can reproduce asexually and sexually, depending on the brood and the time of the year.
These red aphids don’t negatively impact plant life. Their damages are minimal allowing sumacs to thrive further.
Sumac Galls Aphids are among the first types of aphids to be documented for their role in producing galls on host plants.
8. Oriental Grass Root Aphid
This species of aphid (Tetraneura nigriabdominalis) comes from Asia, which inspires its name. The species has slowly expanded its territory to Europe and it’s now seen in North America as well.
Gall-forming aphids are specific to the species. As a true pest, the species forms galls on elm trees but also on crops, particularly on corn and wheat cultures.
You can identify the galls of the aphid by their vertical growing direction and their pale green color.
Galls grow into winged bugs which then move on to another plant host with a similar negative impact.
Oriental Grass Root Aphid invasions can be prevented with techniques such as yearly crop rotation.
9. Cabbage Aphid
You might see these green aphids (Brevicoryne brassicae) with a fuzzy white waxy exterior around the garden if you grow cabbages.
Mating asexually, females can lay eggs on cabbages which eventually turn into cabbage-eating aphids.
Only the softer cabbage leaves are consumed by these aphids, which also means they’re more likely o be seen on cabbages in the early growth stages.
Cabbage aphids are also some of the most common aphids on Brussels sprouts.
Signs of an invasion include holes in cabbage leaves as well as honeydew, a type of sticky residue.
10. Melon Aphid
Melon Aphids (Aphis gossypii) are small bugs growing to a size between 1 and 2 mm. They come in different colors such as yellow, black, and green.
These aphids are also winged as an adult which means they can spread easily across large crops.
Watermelon, cucumber, and cantaloupe are among the most affected crops by this species.
However, there are more than a few hundred plants impacted by the species around the world, including all types of pumpkins.
By comparison, this aphid only affects a smaller number of plants in North America than in the rest of the world.
Heavy insecticide use is a solution against these sap-feeding aphids.
Introducing predatory specie such as ladybird beetles is a less invasive control method.
11. Elm Cockscomb Aphid
Elm Cockscomb Aphids (Colopha ulmicola) are among the primary elm-feeding aphids in the world. These bugs have a pale yellow-green color as nymphs and even a black color as adults.
They create green and red galls and eat through various leaves destructively.
Elm trees are the primary host of the species. Damages to the foliage of these trees can be considerable.
Sedges and cottongrass are secondary hosts only considered when there are no suitable elm trees to lay eggs on.
The species produces a small amount of white waxy fuzz partially covering the body of nymphs.
12. Spiny Witch-Hazel Gall Aphid
Aphids of this species (Hamamelistes spinosus) feed on witch hazel and river birch. They have a long life cycle and the capacity to have winged and wingless offspring.
Eggs are laid on a host in the summer with hatching taking place the following year.
Spiny galls are specific to witch hazel leaves following the impact of these aphids.
Damages are limited when it comes to these aphids at first. They continue mating and only create real damage after their populations have expanded over a few years in a given area.
13. Potato Aphid
Potato Aphids (Macrosiphum euphorbiae) come in pink-red colors and green colors. Both nuances have a slightly transparent profile.
These types of aphids are further known for feeding on potato leaves.
Potato aphids are some of the largest of their kind. They grow to a size of up to 3.6mm.
These aphids have adapted to hundreds of other hosts, outside of potatoes. This includes legumes, flowers, and fruit-bearing trees or bushes.
Managing these aphids is mandatory from the first signs of an invasion. Small white eggs are seen in clumps on the underside of potato plant leaves.
14. Cowpea Aphid
These aphids (Aphis craccivora) look like flies when winged. Black, with a size of around 2mm, winged Cowpea Aphids move from one host plant to another.
Cowpea Aphid nymphs have a base black color with a thin layer of white waxy fuzz.
This species lives all around the world and it spreads on crops, in gardens, or in meadows where asters grow.
They feed on a wide variety of plants such as pumpkins, peanuts, and cowpea.
Damages to legumes tend to be important. Stunted growth is among the most important results of Cowpea Aphid’s invasion of legumes in gardens.
15. Giant Willow Aphid
Giant Willow Aphids (Tuberolachnus salignus) are some of the largest in North America.
These aphids have a base gray color with multiple black dots across the body. Unlike other species, these aphids tend to prefer willow and poplar as host trees.
Feeding on willow leaves, these aphids spread as nymphs and as adults.
A high number of wingless nymphs attract ants and wasps that feed on honeydew. Ladybug beetles are among the few exceptions as predatory species in the same habitat.
Overcrowding is common on willows affected by a high number of Giant Willow Aphids.
16. Pemphigus obesinymphae
This type of aphid is a common sight on North American cottonwood.
A type of tall tree, this host provides a considerable home for a unique aphid species which is known to have a solider cast, much like termites or some ants.
Nymphs are among the soldiers of this aphid family. Only early growth nymphs are part of a defending soldier cast as late instar nymphs don’t have defense duties.
Green and red galls are formed on cottonwood by these aphids.
Multiple small nymphs covered in waxy white fuzz are hosted by these galls.
17. Giant Bark Aphid
Giant Bark Aphids (Longistigma caryae) are considered one of the largest aphids in North America.
This species grows to a size of up to 6mm.
It has a specific light gray coloring with black dots and red legs.
The species is one of the multiple aphids feeding on trees such as hickory, live oak, and American lime.
Pecan, walnut, and sycamore are other common hosts.
Controlling the species is best based on introducing predatory bugs.
Using pesticides isn’t the best as this species can have years with highly reduced populations in a row.
You can watch for hatching eggs in the spring.
18. Asian Woolly Hackberry Aphid
The name of the species (Shivaphis celti) comes from the scientific name of hackberry, known as a Celtis species.
You can quickly identify Asian Woolly Hackberry Aphids on hackberries by their white fuzzy and waxy appearance.
Winged or wingless, this species is mostly seen in the summer.
No particular action needs to be taken against Asian Woolly Hackberry Aphids as their damages are minimal.
Without a major impact on foliage, this aphid largely remains an imported aphid no action is needed against.
It’s believed China is the origin of the species.
19. Red Goldenrod Aphid
This type of goldenrod (Uroleucon nigrotuberculatum) is native to the US and Canada.
It can also be found across the world, adapted to other host species as those in North America.
You can see it on a range of asters in the US. Red Goldenrod Aphids feed on 12 types of goldenrods in the country.
A bright red color is specific to the body of the species. It has black legs while its winged members have transparent-yellow wings.
This species is seen in high numbers on goldenrod. You can find various types of Red Goldenrod Aphids on the plant during the summer.
Nymphs, winged adults, and adults without wings are seen on goldenrods.
20. Black Bean Aphid
These aphids (Aphis fabae) are seen across multiple types of plants, flowers, and legumes.
Apart from beans, it can be seen on poppies, chamomile, thistles, and other plants.
It feeds on the sap of these plants.
You can identify Black Bean Aphids by their black color. Nymphs have pale yellow legs while adults have deep yellow legs.
Black Bean Aphids don’t need particular preventive actions in the garden.
Ladybird beetles control most Black Bean Aphids.
21. Poplar Petiole Gall Aphid
These aphids (Pemphigus populitransversus) are known for their multiple tree and vegetable hosts.
Poplar is among the main hosts of the species. Quaking aspen is another common host.
Poplar Petiole Gall Aphids create large green galls on poplar.
These aphids are also found in the garden where they feed on radishes.
Brown and black colors are specific to the species. Adults sometimes have transparent wings.
22. Mealy Plum Aphid
This green aphid (Hyalopterus pruni) is one is an aggressive aphid pest. It can be found in fruit-bearing trees such as plums and apricot.
A common sight in European and American gardens, the aphid starts life as a pale green nymph.
It can also have a pink-red color as a nymph.
Adult aphids of the species are green with partial black colors with or without wings.
Aphids of this genus are an important pest of plums, particularly of European plums. It damages lead to stunted tree growth or even tree death.
23. Smoky Poplar Aphid
Smoky Poplar Aphids (Chaitophorus populicola) are among the most common pests of Eastern cottonwood.
This type of small aphid has multiple colors and color combinations as it grows.
Initially, the species is yellow and brown. It then becomes green and brown or brown and black.
Adults are mostly black.
As with other species, there are winged and wingless adults seen on the host tree.
The pest status of the species is based on its foliage-eating habits. These aphids also transmit tree viruses.
24. Bead-like Cottonwood Gall Aphid
Bead-like Cottonwood Gall Aphids (Thecabius populimonilis) are a species specialized in narrow-leaf cottonwood and Fremont cottonwood.
Initial infestation signs include seeing small galls on the leaves. These are green, yellow, or brown.
Galls of the species impact photosynthesis of the host trees.
These aphids then turn into salmon or pink nymphs.
Adults have shiny brown bodies.
25. Honeysuckle Aphid
This type of aphid (Hyadaphis tataricae) is rather new in North America. It has a low impact on honeysuckle but it can take away from the appearance of the plant.
You can see these aphids on honeysuckle throughout the summer.
Manual actions such as removing the bugs by hand are among the only control methods that work for the Honeysuckle aphid.
There’s no particular chemical to be used against honeysuckle aphids.
26. Lupine Aphid
Hundreds of lupine plants are infested by Lupine Aphids (Macrosiphum albifrons).
Ornamental lupines in gardens are a common host of the species.
Almost all other types of prairie lupines might also be good hosts for the Lupine Aphid. The species thrives in Northern Europe where it has no major predators.
Most nymph Lupine Aphids have a green color covered in a dusty white waxy substance.
27. Woolly Elm Aphid
North American elm trees are affected by the Woolly Elm Aphid (Eriosoma americanum) in the spring and the fall.
Various species of elm trees are affected at different stages. American elm trees are a host for these aphids at least twice per year.
Elm trees can suffer from these aphid attacks considerably. Initially, it may seem the leaves of the trees are drying up or curling for no reason.
Considerable tree infestations show white clumps or masses of small aphids covered in fuzzy wax on tree leaves.
28. Spiraea Aphid
Small and green, Spiraea Aphid (Aphis spiraecola) is some of the most important pest species around the world.
This type of aphid is seen on tens of various hosts, with varying degrees of impact.
Pests of this family impact North American citruses but they’re also seen on apples or pears.
You might also see Spiraea Aphids on flowers such as hibiscus which may be impacted in 1 or 2 seasons by the Spiraea Aphid.
29. Poplar Leaf-base Gall
Poplar Leaf-base Gall Aphid (Pemphigus populicaulis) is named after its main host, the polar tree. It infests the tree leading to the formation of green galls across its leaves.
You can identify these aphids by their translucent green-gray color as nymphs. They darken and almost become fully black as adults.
Eastern cottonwood is another common host for the species across North America.
30. Slippery Elm Gall Aphid
This type of aphid (Kaltenbachiella ulmifusa) is common in Eastern US states. It feeds on red elm or Indian elm, as the tree is known in these habitats.
An affected elm tree may never reach its true height or it may never be a truly healthy tree due to the presence of these sap-feeding aphids.
You can tell an elm tree is affected by these aphids whenever its leaves curl up.
Later infestation signs include long vertical green and brown galls. Slipper Elm Gall Aphid galls form directly on elm leaves.