Controlling Aphids Naturally

Aphids are a common insect pest in the garden, attacking and sucking the sap from a variety of plants. Not many people know that these little insects are vectors, that is they have the potential to carry viruses which infect plants. The virus is transferred to the plant via the insects saliva when it starts feeding on the plant.

Aphids also secrete honey dew which is used to attract ants. The ants feed on the honey dew and in return protect the aphids from predators. This honey dew can also cause sooty mould which is a type of fungus to grow on the leaves, blocking sunlight to the leaves.    

There are several steps we can take to control these insects.

-aphids love weeds such as Common Sow Thistle (Sonchus oleraceus) which act as a host for Aphids. Controlling these weeds will help to not attract Aphids to your garden.

-plant species of plants which attract predatory insects such as Lace Wings, Lady Beetles and wasps to your garden. These insects love feeding on aphids. 

-depending on the number of aphids on a plant, sometimes using a blast of water from a hose is sufficient to dislodge them.
-natural pyrethrum sprays are very effective in killing and controlling them.

-cut down on the amount of nitrogen fertiliser.

-if ants are present, using a residual insecticide or insect barrier around the base of the plant blocking their access to the aphids.

-covering your plants (usually vegetables) with a fine insect proof mesh.

Learn more about controlling pests and diseases with our 100 hour foundation course, Plant Health.