Aphids can invade entire gardens. People get scared thinking they can get bitten by these bugs constantly.
Scientific evidence shows aphids cannot bite people as they don’t have a mouth or teeth. They have stylets used to suck plant sap. These stylets cannot pierce human skin. Aphids cannot transmit diseases either.
Most types of aphids are tied to the type of plant they live on. Some of the most common aphids in the US included.
- Black bean aphids
- Citrus aphids
- Cypress aphids
- Cabbage aphids
These species get the name of the plants or herbs they live on. While they can negatively impact and even hinder the growth of plants and vegetables, aphids cannot bite.
11 reasons why aphids aren’t harmful to humans
There are a few good reasons these small bugs cannot bite and will not bite even when provoked. Growing to a size of ¼ inches, these bugs could bite as other similar-shaped bugs do bite. Thrips or fleas are also small but don’t bite. Here is the most common reason why these bugs are safe for humans to be around.
1 – Aphids don’t need to bite
Aphids don’t need to bite as they only drink plant sap. They do not drink blood like other tiny bugs. They can lay eggs without a blood meal, unlike many types of biting flies.
Aphids are known for living most of their lives on plants. They prefer not to bite even when people are close or when they are handled directly. These bugs have the purpose of sucking plant sap apart from multiplication.
Aphids eat plant sap and release honeydew other insects such as ants eat. They do not leave plants even when almost completely covered in honeydew. Aphids don’t even bite on accident.
2 – Aphids don’t have mouths
A functional mouth can sometimes enable bugs and animals to bite. However, aphids don’t have a mouth as they don’t eat solid food. They cannot eat plant fiber as they only drink plant sap or the fluids of a plant.
Without a mouth, there are limited damage aphids can do to anything else apart from plants. Aphids don’t need mouthparts to eat as they have stylets, and adapted needle-like feeding mechanism which allows them to pierce plants and sack plant sap directly.
3 – Aphids don’t have teeth
Aphids don’t have teeth since they don’t have functional mouthparts. Teeth would help them bite through plants and even bite people roughly handled.
Without teeth or a stinger, aphids are left with flying away or moving away as defense mechanisms when it comes to people threats.
Most aphids use camouflaging coloring as the first line of defense. Green aphids or yellow aphids live on green and yellow plants which makes them difficult to spot and which means they don’t need to physically defend themselves against most types of predators.
4 – Aphid stylets are short
While aphids have stylets or pierced elongated mouthparts, these are rather short and cannot pierce human skin.
In very rare cases, aphids have stung scientists. However, these are cases with very rare species of aphids that aren’t found in North America and which may have been roughly dealt with.
Stylets are too short and fragile in almost all aphid species for them to consider biting. Aphids cannot rely on their stylets for anything else apart from soft plant tissue piercing.
5 – Aphids suck plant sap
Aphids like to drink plant sap. They like it so much that they even live on plants themselves without moving along to a shelter.
Aphids also lay eggs next to plants which means they spend all of their lives on the plant or plants they consume. Aphids can be seen feeding on plant sap every day.
Aphids can sometimes survive indoors on potted plants. They can drink plant sap from house plants but this is often short-lived as you notice them on house plants faster than noticing them in the garden and you get to take action to eliminate them.
6 – Aphids don’t cause skin irritation
Another reason people aren’t harmed by aphids is the fact they can handle them without skin irritation. Unlike cockroaches which may carry diseases, aphids don’t carry bacteria or viruses which also means they do not spread skin diseases or cause irritation.
Only people with allergies might show some level of skin irritation. But this is mild and can even go unnoticed in most cases.
7 – Aphids are safe to eat
Aphids aren’t venomous or toxic. They are sometimes eaten by accident with salads, cabbage, or broccoli they live on which aren’t properly washed.
These bugs don’t make you sick and they aren’t specifically known for causing mild digestive issues either. Anecdotal evidence shows aphids cannot cause any type of side reaction when consumed deliberately or by accident.
8 – Aphids stay on plants most of their lives
Aphids live for around 1 month. They take a few days to mature before start laying eggs. This entire month is spent on flowers such as roses or vegetables such as cabbages. Aphids are seen on the same plant for up to a few weeks at a time.
They can sometimes move along to a different plant. It only happens when their current plant is overcrowded or when there’s no more plant sap to drink.
Not all aphids have wings. But those that do have wings can easily fly to another nearby planet that isn’t overcrowded. Aphids never willing to fly indoors and they don’t follow people either.
9 – Aphids aren’t attracted to heat or sweat
Aphids don’t follow people around trying to land or bite them. This is something other insects do and those bitten by insects should consider other species and not aphids to look out for.
Sweat bees and mosquitoes are known to be attracted by the heat of the body. They are also attracted to sweat. While bees don’t bite people without some type of provocation, mosquitoes readily bite and they can suck blood initially attracted to sweat.
Aphids aren’t attracted to sweat even if they can follow pheromone traces with certain smells. It’s believed aphids are attracted to various smells when they seek out plants, herbs, and vegetables to eat.
Aphids are also repelled by potent scents such as the smell of garlic which means smell alone is differentiated by these small bugs. As a result, people should not worry about aphid bites when camping, hiking, gardening, or doing any other type of physical activity.
10 – Aphids don’t like the smell of human skin
Aphids aren’t attracted to human breath or the smell of human skin either. These are elements known to attract all types of biting bugs.
Gardening in a short-sleeve shirt or shorts is not a problem when it comes to aphids. Unlike some species of ants, these small colorful bugs aren’t interested in uncovered areas of your skin and they do not land on it either.
11 – Aphids die indoors
Aphids cannot survive without food indoors. This food is plant sap and they need it daily. If you accidentally bring aphids indoors after hiking or gardening you are essentially putting aphids in a survival mode.
Other bugs can survive indoors when they can bite, mainly by drinking blood or eating other insects. Aphids don’t sting, drink blood, or eat other insects which means they cannot survive more than a few days when inside of the house.
Can aphids live on clothes?
Aphids can sometimes attach themselves to clothes. They can even make their way indoors on your clothes. However, aphids cannot survive on clothes. They need to drink a lot of plant sap to survive and they cannot find it on clothes or even in the house.
Can aphids cause skin rashes?
Aphids generally don’t cause skin rashes. You can handle them easily without skin irritation. Furthermore, many gardeners remove aphids by hand which means they have no potential to cause skin irritation. People with severe allergies to bugs might want to avoid touching aphids directly.
Can aphids cause mental distress?
Aphids may not cause any type of physical problem or illness but they can cause mental distress. These bugs can invade entire gardens and crops with a potential for maximum damage which causes distress and economic losses.
Aphids can be among the bugs which cause considerable damage in gardens as they need to eat all the time since plant sap isn’t high in protein.
Aphids don’t cause any type of harm to humans. They don’t bite and they don’t sting either. These bugs cannot pierce human skin with their elongated mouthparts and they only consume plant sap. Aphids spend their entire lives on plants and they don’t willingly move along indoors or onto humans.
Aphids can cause mental distress by invading crops and by causing economic damage. Affected crops show slow growth or even no growth at all which means the most aphids can do to humans is to stress them rather than transmit diseases, bacteria, or indigestion. Aphids don’t sting people either.