Aphids occur practically every year. Shortly after their appearance, however, the beneficial organisms also follow.
Chemical control is unfortunately also harmful to beneficial organisms.
Beneficial organisms such as cockchafer larvae or earwigs can be actively supported to combat aphids.
Every garden lover knows the problem that recurs every year: aphids.
It is not uncommon for hundreds of pests to sit on young shoots and leaves.
The small animals can reproduce explosively and quickly attack the entire garden.
Many hobby gardeners then use the chemical club to get rid of the annoying pests.
However, there are also a variety of natural repellents that garden lovers should rather resort to.
In the following, we will introduce you to various methods for controlling plant lice using natural means. You will also learn which natural predators also help against the annoying pests.
Pests in the garden
In addition to aphids, there are many other pests in the garden. In most cases, in a garden close to nature there is always a suitable beneficial species on the go. This maintains the natural balance. Pest control is always necessary when growing vegetables.
Aphids belong to the arthropod trunk, the so-called arthropoda. They inhabited the planet over 200 million years ago and of the 5,000 known species, just over 800 are found in Central Europe.
The animals are between 1 and 7 millimeters in size and are characterized by a mostly flat and oval body. All types of aphids have the same sting-sucking mouth tool as well as 6 legs and a pair of feelers.
Aphids can be reproduced both by laying eggs and by live births.
As a rule, the animals are fully developed after 14 days. Some aphids can also develop wings to penetrate other habitats when there is a lack of food. They are available in different colors – green, yellow, red-brown or black.
Why are aphids harmful?
This type of plant lice feeds on plant juices. For this they use their proboscis, which is located on their mouth tools.
First they prick the plant and then bite down with their mouth tools. Then they gradually suck the juice out of the plant.
If there is a particularly strong infestation of a plant with aphids, it can no longer provide its leaves with sufficient nutrients. As a result, infected parts often die.
In the worst case, an infected plant can suffer so much damage that it dies.
They can also transmit viruses. The transmission takes place if the animals have previously sucked on virus-infected plants.
Some of these viruses can be transmitted permanently and multiply both in the plant and in the aphid itself. If it is already a weakened plant, the virus infection can also affect it.
The most common plant viruses include curling in strawberry plants, the leaf roll virus in potatoes and the beet yellowing virus.
How do I recognize an aphid infestation?
The infestation is usually shown by deformed and discolored leaves. Flower buds can also fall prey to the pests.
Another sign of aphid infestation can be seen on the underside of the leaves of a plant. If there is a sticky coating there, the so-called honeydew, it is in most cases aphid infestation.
Honeydew is one of the aphid excretions and favors the settlement of black sooty fungi. This in turn damages the infected plant.
If, on the other hand, your plant is infected by scale insects, you will see – in addition to the honeydew – shield-shaped, brown discoloration.
Why you should avoid chemical pesticides
Aphids are not difficult to control and do not do much harm in moderate infestations and healthy plants.
They often disappear as quickly as they came. For this reason, the motto is to keep calm for the time being.
Only if there is a long-term lack of success and visible damage is it possible to gradually take harder measures.
However, the use of chemical agents is not recommended. If you still decide to use poisons, please only use them outdoors. Synthetic poisons in particular can irritate the mucous membranes in humans.
Aphid remedies with natural pyrethrum are even nerve-poisoning, even if they break down the poison quickly under the influence of sunlight.
Piperonyl butoxide agents are harmful to the bee and should therefore not be applied to flowering plants.
Fighting aphids naturally – but how?
There are various ways and means by which the lice can be controlled naturally.
In contrast to the chemical clubs, home remedies take a little more time. That means the success is not immediately visible.
It is important to use the funds regularly so that they can develop their full effect.
Depending on the severity of the infestation, you can use light to heavy remedies. However, chemical agents should be used last.
Slight aphid infestation
If there are only a few aphids in the affected areas, reaching for the water hose and other garden tools from a garden shipment is often sufficient. With houseplants you can easily do this in the shower.
Hold the water jet on the affected areas until no more lice can be seen. Dose the water jet from weak to strong so as not to damage the plant unnecessarily.
Home remedies for moderate aphid infestation
If the infestation is severe, it is best to use nettle stock. Use a spray bottle to apply it to the affected areas until there is no more aphid.
Another home remedy is so-called soapy water. A spray bottle is also used, which is filled with water and a small bar of soap or a little dishwashing detergent.
Be sure to cover the potting soil before spraying and only spray the underside of the leaf.
Brew from tobacco with or without soap has also proven to be helpful in the fight against pests.
The individual brews cover the aphids with a film. This is how the respiratory organs of the soft-skinned animals are glued and suffocate.
Heavy aphid infestation
If your plants are heavily infested and are at risk of causing great damage, you can use organic pesticides.
Plant protection products with the active ingredient Neem or Niem are particularly helpful. This is a concentrate from the seeds of the neem tree.
You can also cut off and dispose of heavily infested parts of plants. This gives the plant the opportunity to direct the force to other unaffected shoots.
When using the product, the package inserts should be followed precisely and strictly, because the relevant statutory provisions apply to the use of plant protection products.
Beneficial insects as a natural defense against aphids
In order to prevent aphid infestation, it is important to know beneficial insects.
The best-known and most effective beneficial organisms include the ladybird, the lacewing larva and the earwig.
Ladybugs are excellent insects when it comes to controlling aphids. A fully grown animal eats up to 100 lice a day. The larva of a ladybug even manages up to 150 to 400 a day.
With the use of ladybugs, aphid infestation can be reduced considerably and a plague can be successfully averted.
It is possible to purchase the ladybird’s eggs through garden delivery. Otherwise, the larvae can also be collected. Most of the time they hide on the underside of leaves.
Forest fly larva and grove hoverfly
Lacewing larvae are also among the best defense measures. The fly’s larvae kill up to 50 aphids a day. Grove hoverfly larvae even manage up to 80 per day.
The advantage of the flies: they are very active even at low temperatures up to at least 8 degrees.
Earwigs are also good for fighting aphids.
Attracted by a flower pot filled with straw or wool, the small animals destroy countless pests. Simply hang the pot upside down in the infested plant. The earwigs can hide in it during the day.
However, if there are no more aphids, the flowerpot should be removed. Because without enough food source, the earwigs like to tamper with leaves
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