We’ve put together some biological and chemical ways for you to prevent your plants from being eaten by aphids over the summer.
One thing to remember is that aphids and greenfly are essentially the same thing. Aphids control the family of greenfly, whitefly and blackfly.
Greenfly and aphids are attracted to mostly roses, lupins and bedding plants. They can be identified up close as they form in small clusters. They can often be tricky to spot as they camouflage into the stem, almost giving the impression that the stem has a deformity.
DIY Non-Toxic Liquid Sprays to Deter Aphids
Put a litre of water in a spray bottle with 1-2 drops of washing-up liquid. Spray the water on the stem of the plant and this should get rid of the aphid cluster.
The water and detergent mixture is completely harmless to the aphids. All that happens is the mixture is sprayed on their face, forcing the aphid to rub their eyes. When this happens they simply lose their grip of the stem and fall off as a result!
One disadvantage to this method is that it has to be done daily, otherwise the aphids will climb back up onto your stem overnight.
Another mixture that can be used is garlic with water. For a highly concentrated spray, use around two full bulbs of garlic pureed into half a cup of water. This mixture would not have to be sprayed as often, and generally one spray every 5-10 days will do the trick, depending on the amount of rainfall.
Again, the garlic will not harm the aphids but the smell should deter them. Don’t worry, your garden won’t reek of garlic but an aphid that is up close to the stem should still get a fairly strong smell of it.
Introducing Beneficial Predators to Your Garden
Gardeners working in nurseries using their plants for commercial purposes often buy in other insects such as predatory miniature wasps or predatory ladybirds to disperse throughout the nursery and eat the aphids .
Although this may not be possible in a home garden, one thing you can do is encourage beneficial predators to gather in your garden by either making your own insect hotel or buying one.
Install this bug hotel in your flowerbed approximately 5/6 feet above ground and ladybirds and other insects will live in there and they will eventually come out and eat the aphids for you.
Planting Marigolds for Aphid Control
The scent of marigolds can also serve to keep away aphids. By companion-planting marigolds around plants that might be vulnerable to aphids such as tomatoes or roses.
One thing to be aware of when choosing this method is that only the pot marigold (calendula) is effective against aphids as opposed to the bedding marigold. The calendula is a perennial plant that is a mix of orange/yellow in colour with a flat centre. They also make up a lot of herbal medicines, and make a great addition to a salad!
If All Else Fails…
We here at CountryLife recommend natural pest control where at all possible. However we realise that these methods can be more time consuming and require attention regularly.
If you absolutely have to use pesticides we recommend Rose Clear. Rose clear is semi-systemic which means it is absorbed by the plant leaves. Rose clear should be used sparingly.
Rose Clear not only kills aphids but also protects your roses from diseases such as rose blackspot. It also prevents aphids from re-gathering on your plant which means that rose clear is still effective when applied as long as 3-4 weeks apart.
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All products mentioned in the above blog can be bought on countrylife.ie or in you local CountryLife branch. To find your nearest store click here.
Gardman Bee and Bug House
The Bee and Bug House gives insects a home and safe place to stay and is specifically useful during the winter months. The top chamber is filled with pine cones to provide shelter to bugs and other insects. The middle chamber provides a haven for a variety of insects such as ladybirds while the bottom 2 chambers encourage solitary bees to nest in the tubes.
Rose Clear Ultra Gun 1L
A convenient hand sprayer that combines a systemic insecticide with a systemic fungicide to control pests and diseases on roses and other flowering and ornamental plants.
Neudorff Organic Total Bug Killer 750ml
The Neudorff organic total bug and larvae killer is an organic pesticide provided as a ready to use spray. The active ingredients pyrethrins and pyrethrum are certified for organic use. The active ingredient is made from the dried flower heads of chrysanthemum cinerariifolium flowers. This spray pesticide can be used on all plants to control pests such as aphids, spider mites, whitefly and blackfly.