By Gordon Port in The Conversation.
The warm, still weather of May is great for us and for many plants and animals, but some of these creatures are a nuisance. Around this time every year in many parts of the northern hemisphere, people begin complaining about a plague of tiny green insects filling the air. But really, these aphids or greenfly shouldn’t be seen a problem, just a sign of spring.
Each year aphids and other insects are poised, ready to start feeding on plants as soon as the leaf buds open and they start to grow. The aphids that fly in May are sycamore aphids (Drepanosiphum platanoidis) and, as their name suggests, they feed on sycamore trees and a few other tree species. They don’t attack garden plants or crops, but if a large group develop on a tree they can reduce its growth. A full-sized tree can host an estimated 2.5m aphids.
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