Can You Eat Aphids? Shocking Facts

If you have bought aphid-infested veggies from the market, and some of them get onto your plate by accident, can you eat aphids? Will they cause any damage? Let’s find out.

Aphids are tiny, soft-bodied insects that love to suck on green leafy vegetables, including broccoli, kale, spinach, and more.

They can be hard to spot unless you look closely, and many people might accidentally swallow them with veggies.

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So, are aphids safe to swallow? The answer is yes; aphids are safe to eat. However, it doesn’t mean you should chomp away on aphid-infested kale or spinach.

Always rinse your leafy greens thoroughly before consuming them. It’s just that eating one or two aphids won’t impact you much. Let’s learn more about it.

Can You Eat Aphids

 

Are Aphids Edible?

Several insects are toxic or poisonous to the human body, but aphids aren’t. Aphids are edible insects. The FDA says that it is OK to have as many as 60 aphids (perhaps more) per 100 grams of food (about 1.5 cups).

You will be all right even if you swallow these insects, except for a few rare species (like the Taiwanese aphid species).

Entomophagy is a term for individuals who eat insects, and you would be surprised how common it is! However, these people usually consume insects much bigger than aphids. Aphids are so small that you won’t even be able to taste or chew them properly.

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Can Aphids Harm You?

No, aphids cannot harm humans, even if you eat them, knowingly or unknowingly.

Aphids have sap-sucking needle-like mouthparts in place of teeth, which help them suck nutrients from plants.

Since they have no teeth, they cannot bite or sting humans. Even if they try to bite you, at best, you might get a small rash that will heal quickly.

Are Aphids Poisonous to Humans?

No, aphids aren’t poisonous to humans in any way. Plant sap is their primary source of food and nutrients, and they can move around from one plant to another.

However, they are not vectors for any known human diseases. So don’t worry if you find out that you have accidentally swallowed one or two of them.

Can You Eat Aphids

 

Do Aphids Carry Any Diseases?

Aphids may carry plant diseases. However, these diseases don’t impact humans.

Moreover, it is unlikely that you will get indigestion if you ever consume some aphids. These bugs are soft-bodied; they don’t have exoskeletons.

They cannot survive the pressure when you swallow them with your veggies. Moreover, whatever is left of them gets easily digested by your stomach fluids.

Can You Eat Leafy Greens Infested With Aphids?

Yes, you can eat leafy greens or herbs with an aphid infestation. We don’t recommend it, though!

It is better if you rinsed off the veggies after picking them from the garden to avoid eating these bugs. While aphids do not affect the flavor of the herbs, they do suck out the nutrients.

So what you are getting is probably not as good as you would want it to be. Moreover, the herbs and veggies will look a little dull or yellowish.

Let’s talk more about how to rinse the veggies to get the aphids off of them, in case you really want to have some of them.

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How To Rinse Herbs or Veggies To Remove Aphids?

Below are some tips to help remove aphids from your leafy greens.

Check the veggies before purchasing.

Prevention is better than cure! Whether you pick them from the garden or buy them from the market, check thoroughly, and if the plant is gone, let it be.

Here’s how you can check them for aphid infestation:

  • Take a thorough look at the plants and leaves.
  • If you notice dark spots or white crooks, aphids are likely going to be there.
  • If you notice any yellow spots on the leaves, it might have had aphids.

Once you notice the above signs, flip the leaves and look at the undersides. Also, aphids tend to leave honeydew on leaves, so that’s also a telltale sign.

Can You Eat Aphids

 

Wash the leaves thoroughly

So, despite all measures, you find that you have, in fact, bought aphid-infested veggies. What shall you do now?

All you need to do is clear or rinse them off with water. Most aphids wash away when put under a strong stream of cold water.

Do not use soapy water to wash the leaves since soap can cause irritation in your stomach.

If you see aphids sticking to the veggies even after the first wash, put them under a high-pressure stream or a water jet.

Wipe the veggies clean

Even after cleaning the leaves with water, aphids may still be lingering under the leaves. So, what should you do?

Nothing, simply wipe your veggie leaves with a soft cloth or sponge. If any garden aphids have escaped the high-pressure water, your sponge will still finish the job.

Give them a good ice bath.

An aphid infestation leaves garden vegetables dull, so we recommend you soak them in a bowl full of ice or ice water.

Please leave them in the bowl for 20 minutes before taking them out. It will firm up the leafy greens, restore their original green color, and kill off any remaining aphids.

Adult aphids cannot survive cold for a long time.

Allow them to dry

Once you get them out of the bowl, pat your vegetables dry. The aphids who manage to survive all the above stages would surely quit at this final stage.

Allow the leafy greens to dry for at least 15 minutes or more before cooking them if you need an aphid-free meal.

Can You Eat Aphids

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can aphids live in your hair?

No, aphids cannot live in your hair since they feed on the sap of the plants. They need the nutrition from the plants to survive. They would die in a few days if they had to live in your hair!

Even if you think some aphids have gotten into your hair, just use a good shampoo and stand under a shower. That should remove them.

What damage do aphids cause?

Aphids are sap-sucking insects that can seriously damage or destroy the plant they infest. They extract all the nutrition from the plant, leaving it yellow and lifeless.

In your garden, you can protect your plants by releasing natural enemies of aphids such as ladybird beetles or lady beetle larvae.

You can buy these beneficial insects from a nearby garden center.

Can you eat basil with aphids?

Yes, you can eat basil with aphids. Aphids don’t carry human diseases, are too small to bite or sting, and are soft-bodied, so they cannot cause any harm to your stomach. Moreover, you can always remove them with a good wash and keep the basil leaves in ice water.

Is it OK to eat lettuce with bugs?

Yes, it is OK to eat lettuce with the bug since it won’t cause any harm to your body. They don’t cause any allergies or diseases, and even the FDA says it’s OK to eat 1-2 once in a while.

However, it would be best if you rinsed them off before cooking your meal to keep the veggies firm and healthy.

Wrap Up

You can eat aphids if they get on your plate with your veggies. They don’t cause any harm to humans.

Even so, it is better to check your leafy greens for aphids before buying, and always wash and rinse properly before you eat.

Authors

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  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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