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Aphids

Symptoms

Young tender growth is vulnerable to aphid attack. These tiny insects (1mm-7mm long) are usually green or black and breed fast, smothering the plant. In severe cases, growth becomes distorted, leaves curl up, the plant weakens and can die.

Find it on: most plants
Time to act: spring to autumn

Overview

There are many species of aphid, often with its own favourite host plants and particular life cycle. Greenfly and blackfly are the most familiar, but there are also yellow, red, orange and brown aphids. Aphids usually spend the summer on one plant, moving to a host plant to overwinter. They breed at an alarming rate - females can give birth to live young when only a week old. They are sap-sucking pests and the excess sap is excreted as honeydew. This sticky residue falls on to the lower leaves of the plant, attracting black sooty mould, which inhibits photosynthesis and deprives the plant of energy.


Solution

Young tender growth is vulnerable to aphid attack. These tiny insects (1mm-7mm long) are usually green or black and breed fast, smothering the plant. In severe cases, growth becomes distorted, leaves curl up, the plant weakens and can die.

Organic

Natural predators, such as birds, earwigs, ladybirds, lacewings, hoverflies, ground beetles, spiders and parasitic wasps are a gardener's best allies. Some of these are available as biological controls, however, they need time to tackle the problem, so don't expect them to hoover up the aphids overnight.

Small clusters of aphids can be squished with your fingers or washed off with a strong jet of water.

Insecticidal soap sprays are effective, but must come into contact with the pest to work.

Chemical

Avoid feeding plants with nitrogen-rich fertiliser, as it encourages soft, sappy growth that's especially vulnerable to aphid attack. There are many products available to control aphids - if you intend to use them on edible crops, make sure you follow the instructions carefully.




Discuss this problem

Talkback: Aphids
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harrietaimee2 24/11/2011 at 15:27

i have bought three gooji berry plants of you 2 years ago and i have not had one berry on them so far is there something i am doing wrong. i have had no information on how to look after them
hope you can help me on this.
mrs beryl shally

greendigit 24/11/2011 at 15:27

I have heard that boiling up rhubarb leaves and straing liquid after can be an effective deterrent with aphids, I dont know if this is true but I am giving it a try, I would like to find out more about other plants that i can use as a liquid or other deterrants in pest control if anyone can.

meggy6 24/11/2011 at 15:28

May try that myself,I have a rhubarb patch,does anyone know if boiling up the leaves will be effective,on red spider mites???

RV72110 24/11/2011 at 15:28

I have been told about this in the Pays de la Loire in France. I've tried it and it successfully killed black fly on Dwarf Green Beans with one application. Recently I've used it on green aphids on a young apple tree, will wait and see what happens. I was told to boil up the leaves, strain off the liquor and store, then dilute about 8 parts water to 1 part liqour to b sprayed ontp affected plants.

lilymaewebster 24/11/2011 at 15:28

if i use a chemical rather than organic method on my broad beans this year, would it be preferable to use a befenthrin controlled method or a systemic controlled method. Lat year the aphids were vertually uncontrollable and none of the organic methods seemed to be successful.

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