Garden Pests

Aphids

 

Otherwise known as greenfly and blackfly these sap-sucking insect pests feed on all foliage and flowers and are particularly partial to ornamental plants, fruit, vegetables and houseplants.

 

There are over 500 species of Aphid in Britain and they range in size from 1-7mm (1/16 - 1/4in) long.

Aphids cause distorted growth and excrete a sticky substance which attracts a growth of sooty mould. They can be carried for hundreds of miles by wind or air currents and can transfer viruses to other plants notably Strawberries, Raspberries, Tomatoes, Dahlias and Sweet peas.

 

 How to Spot Aphids

You should be able to see them without a magnifying glass. Look out for their pear-shaped bodies and thin spindly legs and pipes called ‘cornicles’ at the bottom of their abdomen. If you notice distorted new growth on your plants, this is likely to be the work of aphids. Be on the lookout for them from spring to late summer and all year round indoors. They are commonly found on roses and can build up into big colonies if you let them.

 

 

How to treat

You can also squash small infestations with your fingers or blast with a jet of water.

If the infection is limited to a few plants you can use horticultural soft soap or a very diluted solution of washing up liquid to wash off aphids from leaves and buds. If the infection is major this can be tedious and can cause leaf damage.

One quirky way to get rid of them is to put some aluminum foil or a mirror below your plants which can fool them into flying upward.

Encourage natural predators such as Ladybirds, Hoverfly and Lacewing into your garden by planting nectar-rich flowering plants such as Wallflowers, Sweet Williams and African Marigolds.  Nettles are also good to plant as they attract the nettle aphid which is a good source of food for lots of aphid eating insects.  Nettle aphids also appear early in the year so they attract the predators early on in the season and won’t attack your precious plants as they only feed on nettles.

Another solution is to try a biological control such as Ladybird Larvae or Lacewing Larvae 


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