Say the A-word and you are bound to hear moans and groans from gardeners – yep, aphids – sigh! Such a common pest but maybe not as “pesty” to the insect world as you may have thought. Aphids (moan) are like sugar drops to many insect predators. Aphids (groan) are sap feeding insects that insert their piercing sucking mouth parts into plant tissues that conduct sugars throughout the plant. In this sense, they are kind of like the mosquitoes of the plant world. Good news is there are several natural enemies of aphids (yea!) and if predator and parasitoid populations are healthy, they can successfully keep aphid populations low – without chemical control! In fact, sometimes pesticide sprays to control aphid infestations can do more harm than good if predator populations are reduced which can result in secondary outbreaks of aphids. This week’s post is dedicated to the ever-present aphids (boo) and next week’s post will be dedicated to their natural enemies (whoohoo!). Check out this Utah Pests fact sheet on common aphid pests on vegetables.