Posted: 21/05/2014 at 13:06
We're in the centro storico of a wee hill town, BF. The garden is 250sqm on three terraces. Very rare in the centro storico of wee hill towns. In fact, our back fence is the medieval wall around the remains of the 15th century tower at the very top of the town.
I don't see anything like enough ladybirds either. For aphids, and I get them in plagues, too many to pick or hose off, I use a pyrethrum spray. It's organic in that it's derived from Chrysanthemums but, obviously, it knocks over beneficial insects too. Pyrethrum is the English name, it's Piretro in Italian. It's commonly available.
It's a contact spray, not systemic. You have to hit the pests to kill them. It doesn't have any residual impact. The pests will return the next day. I had to go down the nasty chemical route once when I couldn't get Piretro. Decis jet is a Bayer product that's systemic. It kills the pests and any that return until the next rainfall that washes off the stuff.
The nasty black insects on the roses are probably maggiolini. No idea what they're called in English. A friend down in Umbria, a rose fanatic, is driven mad by them every year. The locals say they disappear in June but my friend claims otherwise. They're also supposed only to attack light-coloured roses. I'll find out. She has given me a light-coloured rose that is just about to bloom!