Aphids: species & different control methods

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Black bean louse

Aphids – they come from nowhere and can cause enormous damage to the beloved plants in the garden. Here is an overview of what species exist and how they can be combated.

The black bean louse – © hakoar – Fotolia.com

Aphids are among the most well-known pests in their own garden. They infect ornamental as well as useful plants. They come quite surprisingly and in no time at all, they make mass on the young leaves and shoots of the plants to create.

This pest infestation usually begins unnoticed, but then they expand explosively under optimal conditions.

In our climes native aphid species

About 850 species of these greedy insects are known in Central Europe. Some of them are among the most common representatives in our gardens. These include the …

Green peach aphid

Great peach aphid
© By Tsaag Valren – via Wikimedia Commons

It occurs in two generations. The summer generation is colored green and has no wings. In the airworthy generations, the head and parts of the breast area are colored black-brown to black.

The pest populates peach, plum and mirabelle, but also various vegetables and weeds.

Black bean louse

Black bean louse
© hakoar – Fotolia.com

This insect forms several generations living in colonies. The winged and wingless maidens are broadly oval and dark green to dull black. Affected leaves curl up and the shoot tips twist. The louse spreads on beans , potatoes and turnips, but also on snowball and Pfaffenhütchen.

Great rose aphid

Great rose aphid
© Eric – Fotolia.com

The pest has a long spindle-shaped body with a black head. The body is green or pink.

About as long as the body of the animal and usually a little longer, are the black feelers. The terrain of this aphid are roses , apple, pear and strawberry.

Eriosoma Lanigerum

Eriosoma Lanigerum
© commons.wikimedia.org

The winged adult animals are dark brown to dark violet-stained. In addition, the body is covered by long, white, wool-like wax threads above the specimens living in the ground. The terrestrial blue-throated louse is littered with whitish-blue waxy particles.

This lousy insect does damage to apple , pear and quince.

Other aphid species that are at home in the garden are:

  • the green apple aphid
  • the big plum tree aphid
  • the blackcurrant bubble louse
  • the oleander aphid
  • the Sitkalaus

The evil of the lousy plague

Aphids can do a considerable amount of damage to the garden, which can lead to crop losses, loss of quality and even complete crop failure. Because with their proboscis insects sting the plant cells still young, juicy leaves and shoots and suck out the sugary sap.

But since they only need a small proportion of protein in their sap to live, they excrete some of the sugary juice again. As a result, the plant is partially covered with a sticky juice called honeydew.

Fresh honeydew attracts other insects that feed on it. Especially ants are obsessed with this sugary excretion and milk the aphids. The ant defends the aphid even against attacks by beneficials.

Wind and insects often colonize spores of fungal diseases on older honeydew deposits. However, the fungus does not cause much damage. Leave behind only unsightly dark mold spots.

The airborne aphids raise but another problem. When colonizing new plants, these can become infected with viral diseases and these then spread, for example, on fruit trees or perennials.

Of course, prevent aphids

“Prevention is better than cure”, this popular wisdom can also make use of the hobby gardener, if he wants to spare his plants in the garden an aphid plague. The best prevention against aphids is to cultivate the garden close to nature. In plain language this means:

  • avoid larger accumulations of similar plants
  • Combine ornamental shrubs with different perennials
  • Grow vegetables in mixed culture
  • Avoid over-fertilization with nitrogen. Nitrogen continually stimulates the plant to produce juicy young shoots from which sap aphids benefit.
  • Plant tree slices of fruit trees with nasturtium that keeps aphids away.

Lacewing, ladybird and co decimate aphids

Helpers in the protection against aphids are the beneficial insects. These are natural enemies of lousy malefactors. Of great benefit are:

  • lacewings
  • ladybug
  • parasitic wasps
  • hoverflies
  • Predator bugs and other beneficial insects.

Some of these useful helpers settle well in the garden. The fragrance of catnip infatuates the lacewing. The same attractant as this plant has, also exudes the aphid and attracts the fly.

Ladybug keeps it in the garden when they find enough food. Thus, a small wildflower meadow with dill, yarrow , poppy and buckwheat may be an additional source of ladybirds aphid.

In addition, it is advisable to build enough nesting possibilities in the garden, such as a small deadwood hedge, a lacewing box or an insect hotel . If the beneficials feel comfortable in your garden, then the aphid noticeably decreases after the first infestation in late spring or early summer.

At the same time the aphid hunters multiply enormously due to the good food supply. Thus, in the course of the summer, a balance is established with which to live well.

Home remedies can do wonders

Before they resort to the commercial pesticides, probate home remedies are recommended. With a more manageable aphid infestation you can already achieve good results with Kernseife solution, nettle or tobacco.

Beneficial plant protection

The so-called Austriebsspritzung has proven successful in fruit trees in the spring, to prevent aphid infestation. When the buds become bulging and the first tips of the leaves are visible, the trees and shrubs are thoroughly treated with a Garden Safe Brand Multi-Purpose Garden Insect Killer such as promanal . Rapeseed oil, the active ingredient, penetrates into the tiniest crevices and covers aphids and wintering pests with a fine oil film, causing them to die.

The plant protection against aphids should be beneficial in any case. After all, the hobby gardener does not want to disturb the natural balance of beneficial organisms and their nutritional needs in the garden. And so you can choose from the assortment of beneficial agent products in the garden shop. These preparations are based on rapeseed oil or potash soap. There are, for example, such products as “Ortho Flower, Fruit and Vegetable Insect Killer with Comfort Wand” or “Safer Brand 3 in1 Garden Spray Concentrate 32 Ounces” . These remedies clog the respiratory organs of the aphids, causing the insects to suffocate over time. To capture as many pests as possible, it is important that the plants are thoroughly sprayed from all sides.

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