What are fruit aphids?
Aphids are sap sucking true bugs often called blackfly, greenfly or plant lice. There are more than 500 species found in Britain. Most of the fruits grown in gardens can be affected by at least one species of aphid.
Many of the aphids attacking fruits have similar life cycles. They overwinter on the trees and bushes as eggs which are laid in crevices in the bark or near buds. Aphid eggs are usually shiny black, about 1mm long and ovoid in shape. They hatch in spring, as the buds begin to open, and the nymphs feed on the new growth. Aphids reproduce rapidly and their numbers reach a peak on the fruit host during late spring to early summer.
Winged aphids develop and migrate away from the fruit tree or bush in early summer, sometimes leading to the infestation on the fruit host dying out. The aphids spend the summer on herbaceous plants. In the autumn winged aphids are again produced which fly back to the fruit tree (winter host) to mate and lay eggs. The summer host is often a wild plant and since the aphids disperse widely when they migrate, it is not possible to control them by treating or removing the summer host.
Some aphids, for example woolly aphid, and brown peach aphid, do not have a summer host and instead remain on fruit trees throughout the year.