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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Oleander Aphids: Facts You Won't Believe!

One of the most interesting oleander aphids facts is that they increase their populations in both gardens and in wild in spring and summer.

Oleander aphids are a family of insects or bugs that are parasitic in nature. They typically grow on a host plant such as milkweed or the oleander plant. They are minute creatures, being only about 0.059-0.1024 in (1.5-2.6 mm) long and of negligible weight. They have a shiny bright yellow body with prominent black legs. They are wingless creatures, but some are known to become winged when a colony becomes too large, so they can fly to other plants. They do not lay eggs for reproduction, since adult females give birth to smaller oleander aphids called nymphs. Hardly any aphids found in their tropical and Mediterranean habitats are males.

The plant that harbors them is called a host plant and it may have its growth stunted due to an overcrowding of aphids on its branches and leaves. Asclepias plants, better known as milkweeds, are particularly in danger of this and these infested plants can be found in the wild or sometimes even in a garden. The infested plants also attract ants and other insects who are attracted to the sweet honeydew secreted and left behind by oleander aphids. This infestation of Asclepias is naturally controlled wasps, who feed on the aphid young. On top of this, insecticidal soaps or a stream of water can be used to rid a plant or a garden of large colonies of aphids.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other insects including the Mydas fly or the mayfly here.

Oleander Aphids Interesting Facts

What type of animal are oleander aphids?

The oleander aphid, which is also called a milkweed aphid, is a bug.

What class of animal do oleander aphids belong to?

Oleander aphids belong to the insect class of animals.

How many oleander aphids are there in the world?

Since the oleander aphid (Aphis nerii) is a bug that multiplies quickly and in big numbers, the amount of aphids that exist in the world at a given time is uncertain.

Where do oleander aphids live?

The oleander aphid lives in tropical regions and places with a Mediterranean climate. These aphids can be found among plants and vegetation, or in a garden feeding off plants like oleander, milkweed, and bindweed plants.

What is an oleander aphid's habitat?

Oleander aphids are found on the oleander plant from which they derive their name. The milkweed is another one of its host plants, and hence it is also sometimes called the milkweed aphid.

Who do oleander aphids live with?

The oleander aphid lives in colonies and packs since it multiplies fast.

How long do oleander aphids live?

An oleander aphid typically lives for 25 days.

How do they reproduce?

Adult females of the oleander aphid family reproduce by giving birth to smaller clones of themselves called nymphs.

What is their conservation status?

Their conservation status is currently Least Concern.

Oleander Aphids Fun Facts

What do oleander aphids look like?

Oleander aphids are minuscule beings, with a bright yellow body and black legs. They hardly ever exist alone and are found mostly on milkweeds and the oleander plant, where they become part of the ecosystem. If they take over their plant, they threaten the growth of plants and, consequently, the lives of monarch butterflies who depend on them.

Oleander aphids form and live in colonies, most commonly on oleander and milkweed plants.

How cute are they?

The oleander aphid is a small, picturesque bug. These aphids have a bright yellow outer body, with prominent black legs. Moreover, since they are always secreting a sticky honeydew on their bodies, their appearance is shiny and striking. Individually, the oleander aphid is a cute insect but since it is a parasitic creature that survives on host plants in big colonies, collectively they look quite unappealing.

How do they communicate?

Oleander aphids communicate using pheromones and vibrations. This communication usually takes place when the aphids are under attack by wasps, while living on host plants.

How big is an oleander aphid?

Oleander aphids are minute tiny animals, being only 0.059-0.1024 in (1.5-2.6 mm) long.

How fast can oleander aphids fly?

Oleander aphid is typically a wingless insect, but when its host plant gets crowded by its own colonies, some aphids develop wings allowing them to fly away to a newer, different host plant. The speed at which they fly is not currently known.

How much do oleander aphids weigh?

Oleander aphids weigh no more than a tiny 0.0031 grains (0.2 mg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

Oleander aphids have no separate male and females names.

What would you call baby oleander aphids?

Baby oleander aphids are called 'nymphs'.

What do they eat?

Oleander aphids survive on the juices of their host plant, be it the oleander, the milkweed, the periwinkle, or another plant.

Are they dangerous?

Oleander aphids are dangerous only to the plants that they colonize. They can be responsible for the stunted growth of the plant they live on. The insect, which is also called 'butterfly weed', also makes its host plant look unappealing since their bright yellow bodies leave behind honeydew, which eventually turns into a black sooty mold. Oleander aphids can be gotten rid of in different ways. One of them is to hose down the plant that has been infested.

Would they make a good pet?

Although they have a striking bright yellow body and black legs, oleander aphids would prove a nuisance rather than being good pets.

Did you know...

The syrphid fly, commonly known as a hoverfly, sometimes controls the aphid insects present on host plants. Also, parasitic wasps, such as the cresson wasp, help to get rid of the aphid population by laying their eggs in the newborn nymphs that are bred by a female. The cresson wasp's eggs then feed on the insects.

These aphids can be both winged and non-winged. They are largely wingless unless the colony becomes too dense. When this happens some oleander aphids develop wings so that they can fly to a new host plant.

Ants migrate to Asclepias plants as well as oleander aphids, following the sweet honeydew left behind by these aphids.

Oleander aphids grow in size during summer and spring in tropical and Mediterranean regions.

Oleander aphids on milkweed flowers are a common sight in nature and in many different gardens. These aphids are often found on the buds of the oleander plant, as well as on daisies, periwinkles, and milkweeds.

Oleander aphids feed on sap from the phloem tissue of their host plants.

What kills oleander aphids?

Oleander aphids are habitually attacked by parasitic wasps, particularly cresson wasps. These wasp predators of oleander aphids are also known as Lysiphlebus testaceipes.

How do oleander aphids find their way to milkweed plants?

Oleander aphids are carried by strong winds across long distances each spring. After the winds calm down those with wings can also fly directly to the plant that they plan to use as a host. Being a species that multiplies rapidly via asexual reproduction, adult oleander aphids are able to build large colonies (sometimes causing an infestation) quickly on the leaves of a host plant such as the oleander or milkweed plant.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other insects including the potter wasp or the hornet.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Georgia insect coloring pages.  

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