Field studies were conducted to characterise the effects of infestations by adult and nymphal stages of cowpea aphid, Aphis craccivora Koch, on the growth and yield of cowpea, Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp. Seedling, flowering, and podding stage plants of aphid-resistant (cv. ICV-12) and aphid-susceptible (cv. ICV-1) cowpea cultivars were used in the studies. Four treatments (consisting of infestations with adult and nymphal aphids, caged controls and uncaged controls) were administered on plants for 22 days post-treatment. Eight parameters of crop success were measured: extended leaf heights (ELH); plant mortality; incidence of sooty mould; incidence and abundance of natural enemy species; crop growth parameters (net assimilation rate, [NAR] in g/ dm2/day, and crop growth rate [CGR] in g/dm2 land surface/day); and plant yields (seeds per pod, weight per seed). Data were analysed using analysis of variance (ANOVA), orthogonal contrasts and 95% confidence intervals (C.I.). There were no significant (P > 0.05) differences between adult and nymphal infestations or between caged and uncaged controls, so the respective sets of data were combined for comparisons of aphid infestations with control treatments. Infestations caused severe plant stunting and other growth deformities, drastic yield reductions, higher plant mortality, greater incidence of natural enemies and abundance of Cheilomenes spp. on cv. ICV-1 than on cv. ICV-12, and on infested and uninfested plants. Aphid infestations did not significantly affect the incidence of sooty mould on plants of cv. ICV-12 or cv. ICV-1.