Spring is here, so its also a time when insects come out and play! Over the next few months, I will be discussing the horrors of some of the most prolific pests in our garden. Of course, the first should have no introduction, as its in every garden across the world. The dreaded – APHID!
There are 5000 species of this insect across the world. Only a few hundred in Australia. Only about a dozen, of which are native to our land, down under. The others were imported accidently on plants early in settlement time. All of them are bad, And there are many different colours; winged and wingless. Most species only have one host plant they will destroy, yet there are some that have a range of species they like.
These bugs may be small, but they are little buggers. Red, white, brown, black, green, doesn’t matter what colour they are, they all suck! Literally. They suck the foliage on plants, on roots, stems, leaves, etc. They also pass on disease from one plant to another. Known as insect vectors of viruses. One of the most prolific viruses that are caused by aphids are known as the potyvirus which accounts for 30% of all plant diseases, including: potato virus, Watermelon mosaic virus, just to name a few. If you want more information on this little pint sized destroyer, please check out the below link which has a wonderful fact sheet on this little blighter: https://www.greenlifeindustry.com.au/Attachment?Action=Download&Attachment_id=1975#:~:text=Aphids%20are%20relatively%20small%2C%20bulbous,to%20be%20present%20in%20Australia.
Think roses, those little green things on your beautiful new buds? They are aphids. How do you get rid of them? You could spray them with some nasty chemicals, but why would you? Aside from the harm it can do to you, your family, animals or the environment, there is not one universal pesticide for all pests. So do you add a cocktail of chemicals onto your plants or do you go the biological route?
Biological ways to control aphids:
Did you know that Ladybugs eat aphids? If you grow some plants which will attract ladybugs near a plant which has aphids, this would be very beneficial. A few examples are below:
Thyme, lavendar, sage, coriander and dill. These are all very attractive plants which will complement your roses and add beneficial insects like ladybugs.
There are a few “controls” which would be okay if you only have a few plants, for example, with your hose nozzle, you can squirt these little pests away. Or Wipe them off manually, Using a gloved hand, rub the little buggers off your plants, this is time consuming and would not work if you have more than 10 infected plants. Although, now we’re in lockdown, this could be a fun way to get your kids involved!
If you have any other biological ways to control aphids, please comment!