Controlling aphids in the garden


Controlling aphids in the garden.

Aphids are insects that suck the sap from plants, which in turn effects growth and cause a lack of vigour. They can also transmit plant viruses.

Know as greenfly or blackfly, these insects suck the sap from foliage, stems and flowers but actually feed from the roots. Most aphids go through an annual cycle involving two or more host plants. Overwintering eggs are laid on trees or shrubs and once hatched in the spring, young aphids migrate to less woody summer host plants. Gardeners should check susceptible plants regularly from spring and treat accordingly.



Name: Aphids, greenfly, blackfly, plant lice

Affected: Most plants

Symptoms: Poor and distorted growth, sticky honeydew and sooty molds

Active: Spring to late summer

Predators: Ladybirds, beetles and hoverflies



Check susceptible plants from spring onwards to control the population. If checked regularly, colonies can simply be squashed. Alternatively, encourage natural predators, or purchase their larvae as a means of natural control.

There are a number of organic sprays and plant oils available which can give good control of aphids. They have a short persistence though and need to be applied regularly. Controlling overwintering eggs with a plant oil winter wash between November and February can be highly effective.

Plant invigorators combine nutrients to stimulate plant growth with surfactants or fatty acids that have a physical mode of action against aphids.

More information

> Pesticides for home gardeners
> Encouraging native insects


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