One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A minute bug that feeds by sucking sap from plants. It reproduces rapidly, often producing live young without mating, and may live in large colonies that cause extensive damage to crops.
- ‘The gardener's friend, the busy little ladybird helps by eating aphids and greenfly.’
- ‘As a group, aphids attack a plant by sucking its fluids from tender new growth.’
- ‘Using an oil spray will get rid of aphids, lacebugs and spider mites quickly.’
- ‘Keep a look out for aphids on tender young growth or on plants that are stressed and unhappy.’
- ‘Sap-sucking insects such as aphids carry viruses between plants.’
Late 19th century: back-formation from aphides, plural of aphis.
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