Day of aphids as they cling to tree
Mild autumns like this year play havoc with our wildlife. Remember the first day of winter does not officially start until December 21, but I saw some black bean aphids still hugging to one of my branches in late November. Gardeners will know them as blackfly and you can get winged and wingless forms. I seem to have healthy clusters of them on this sallow tree which grows in my back garden. As they feed, they secrete a sticky honeydew substance and this drips onto the leaves and covers them with a sticky black mould. During the summer, up to five live young a day can be produced and when they over populate a tree or shrub they produce winged aphids which disperse to new feeding areas. During the cooler months, the aphids mate and produce eggs which then overwinter and start the cycle again the following spring. Black bean aphids like feeding on broad beans and can be a real nuisance, but they tend to overwinter on spindle trees.
For more information contact Owen Leyshon, Romney Marsh Countryside Project, telephone 01797 367934 or log on to www.rmcp.co.uk
Black bean aphids in late November!