Biological properties of aphids
Aphids are very small, soft-bodied, pear-shaped insects that infect many plants, especially roses and vegetables. They are several millimeters long and are often almost invisible to the naked eye. Aphid species come in a variety of colors, but green, black, and yellow are more common.
In nature, there are a huge number of aphid species (about 4000). They include bean, cabbage, potato, peach, melon and apple aphids and many others that differ from each other. Adult individuals feed on plant sap, depending on the species, they infect leaves, stems, buds, fruits and roots. In large quantities, they can significantly weaken plants, damaging flowers and fruits.
The aphids overwinter on the remains of plants, and then reappear in the spring, gathering in large clusters, most disturbing in spring and summer. She multiplies rapidly. Several generations may appear in one season.
Leaf aphids weaken the plant by sucking out the juice, causing their deformation. In ornamental gardens, this effect is undesirable, as the trees must be properly shaped for aesthetic reasons and for fruit production.
Note! With 50 generations per summer, this means that the total number of aphids is huge. However, it only lives for a few days and these creatures need a high reproductive rate to survive as a species.
Treating plants at an early stage can make a huge difference in aphid control. Adults are usually wingless, but some species may develop a winged form and the insects move to other plants to reproduce and create a new colony.
Sucking insects carry harmful viruses to new plants, which can cause significant damage to vegetation, especially in gardens.
Leaf aphid damage
Leaf aphids mainly damage young plants by sucking the juice out of them. At the same time, they secrete a poison that causes the leaves to curl up, forming leaf “hideouts” for them, making it difficult for birds and other predators to access them.
Root aphids spread on houseplants and herbs. It makes infected plants susceptible to root rot and other diseases. Signs of damage to root aphids are similar: twisted and yellowed leaves, stunting. The methods of treatment that are used for the aerial parts are ineffective for her.
What do aphids do on plants
Tiny insects congregate en masse at the junctions or on the underside of leaves, leaving behind twisted and yellowed leaves, deformed flowers, and damaged fruits. Although plants rarely die, aphids can seriously weaken them if left unchecked.
Aphids secrete a sticky substance called honeydew, which creates a favorable environment for the growth and spread of sooty mold, which makes the branches and leaves look black.
Sooty fungus on leaves
The sticky substance may attract other insects such as ants that feed on it. The aphid-ant relationship is a symbiotic relationship. Both reciprocally benefit from their working relationship. The aphids produce sweet food for the ants, in return the ants care for and protect it from predators such as lacewings and ladybugs, and even gather them into large colonies, rearing the aphids in such a way that it is easier to collect honeydew. When a large number of ants are seen on a tree or plant, it is likely to be infested with aphids.
Additional Information! Ant management is one way to control the aphid population. The fewer ants protecting them, the fewer aphids will be. A non-toxic method of dealing with ants is to wrap the plant or tree with duct tape or netting. It catches ants. In turn, the aphids will be attacked by predators and their numbers will decrease.
How to get rid of aphids naturally
How to deal with aphids? Aphids reproduce rapidly, so various methods and efforts may be required to completely control them. Use natural and chemical methods. Natural remedies do not harm the environment, while providing optimal results. Natural and organic sprays work well for aphid control.
Natural remedies for pest control
Homemade aphid spray : Mix a few tablespoons of liquid soap in a bucket of water (avoid using detergents with degreasers or moisturizers). From a spray bottle, apply to the affected parts of the plant. The soap dissolves the protective outer layer of the aphids, eventually killing them. It does not harm birds or beneficial insects such as lacewings, ladybugs or pollinating bees. Soapy water should be reapplied every 2-3 days for 2 weeks.
Neem oil. Most natural remedies available are of limited effectiveness, with the exception of neem oil. Neem oil spray acts as a repellant against aphids and other insects, including mealy bugs, cabbage worms, miner beetles, ants and various types of caterpillars. It does not leave dangerous marks in the soil, and effectively reduces or eliminates pests. However, it can repel beneficial insects, so you need to be careful.
Neem oil is also useful for fighting various types of fungus, and is very safe when used correctly. Apply it only in indirect sunlight or in the evening to avoid burning the foliage and allowing the solution to penetrate the plant. Do not use neem oil at too high or too low temperatures.
Essential oils. Spray mix with essential oils: 4-5 drops of peppermint, cloves, rosemary and thyme are mixed with water in a small spray bottle. Spray the affected areas of the plant to destroy adults, as well as aphid larvae and eggs.
An excellent natural remedy for aphids is a solution based on propolis. Propolis is widely used in organic farming and acts as a natural antibiotic, pesticide and antifungal agent.
Feverfew is an insecticide from plants, so it can be included in natural remedies. Its active ingredient, pyrethrin, is very effective against most garden and vegetable pests, including aphids. The procedure should be carried out in the evening so that the sun could not affect the effectiveness of the active substance. Natural feverfew can be purchased at specialized garden centers.
Fresh (1 kg) or dried nettle (500 grams) is poured into 10 liters of boiling water. Leave to infuse for 4 days, filter, and spray the liquid throughout the plant.
Another homemade deadly aphid mixture based on grated garlic: 100 g, mixed with 8 liters of water, covered and left to insist for three days.
Where higher water pressure can be used, spray the plant with a strong jet of water from a garden hose. This method is most effective at the beginning of the season, before the infestation is complete.
Remove aphids by hand: put on gardening gloves and knock them off the stems, leaves, flower buds into a bucket of soapy water to kill them.
You can also cut off the affected areas, and throw them in a bucket.
How to prevent aphids
To effectively deal with leaf aphids is to encourage animal helpers, beneficial insects such as ladybugs, hoverflies, lacewings and others. Adult ladybugs do not eat as many aphids as their larvae.
Useful insects ladybugs
Attract birds by creating artificial nests and houses. Birds such as wrens and tits help keep insect populations under control. Even sparrows are very fond of aphids.
Note! Controlling aphids with plants is a simple and effective practice that anyone can do. Plants naturally repel aphids and also serve as traps for them.
In addition, you need to keep your garden free of weeds that can provide shelter for aphid eggs in winter.
How to get rid of aphids with chemicals
If you need to get rid of these annoying aphids in a short time, chemical preparations are better suited. It is important to remember that they harm the environment and release chemicals even 4 weeks after application. During this period, fruit is strictly prohibited.
If the plants have already been infested with aphids in the past, it is recommended to carry out preventive treatments from time to time. Natural remedies are useful when an infestation is still in its infancy, or as a preventative treatment. In the spring, with the arrival of the first spring heat, preventive methods are carried out.
Planting companion plants that attract beneficial insects (aphid predators) or those that naturally repel aphids can keep the pest away. Fragrant herbs such as fennel, dill and cilantro repel aphids. These plants are planted close to those that suffer from it.
Garlic and onions repel aphids from rose bushes. Good traps for aphids are nasturtiums and sunflowers. Sunflowers are so big and strong that they can take a real blow from aphids without taking any damage.
Aphids on roses
Of all the pests that affect roses, aphids are the most common. Roses can be seriously attacked by them.
The easiest way to deal with these pests is to check your roses regularly from the beginning of the growth cycle. Aphids can be found under leaves and in groups around buds and flowers. They can damage the kidneys and they won’t be able to develop. The leaves are looking unhealthy. Any of these methods of control will help get rid of aphids on roses and keep them under control.
Pesticides kill beneficial insects and make aphids and other pests more resistant.