Bacteria are ubiquitous inhabitants of animals. Hormaphidinae is a particular aphid group exhibiting very diverse life history traits. However, the microbiota in this group is poorly known. In the present study, using high-throughput sequencing of bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA gene amplicons, we surveyed the bacterial flora in hormaphidine aphids and explored whether the aphid tribe, host plant and geographical distribution are associated with the distribution of secondary symbionts. The most dominant bacteria detected in hormaphidine species are heritable symbionts. As expected, the primary endosymbiont Buchnera aphidicola is the most abundant symbiont across all species and has cospeciated with its host aphids. Six secondary symbionts were detected in Hormaphidinae. Arsenophonus is widespread in Hormaphidinae species, suggesting the possibility of ancient acquisition of this symbiont. Ordination analyses and statistical tests show that the symbiont composition does not seem to relate to any of the aphid tribes, host plants or geographical distributions, which indicate that horizontal transfers might occur for these symbionts in Hormaphidinae. Correlation analysis exhibits negative interference between Buchnera and coexisting secondary symbionts, while the interactions between different secondary symbionts are complicated. These findings display a comprehensive picture of the microbiota in Hormaphidinae and may be helpful in understanding the symbiont diversity within a group of aphids. © 2019 The Authors. Insect Science published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.