Aphids - they come from nowhere and can cause enormous damage to the beloved plants in the garden. Here is an overview of what types there are and how they can be controlled.The black bean louse - © hakoar - Fotolia.com
Aphids are one of the best known pests in your own garden. They affect both ornamental and useful plants. They come quite surprisingly and in no time they mass themselves on the young leaves and shoots of the plants.
This pest attack usually begins unnoticed at first, but then it spreads explosively under optimal conditions.
Aphid species native to our region
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© By Tsaag Valren - via Wikimedia Commons
It occurs in two generations. The summer generation is colored green and has no wings. In the flightable generations, the head and parts of the chest area are colored black-brown to black.
The pest colonizes peach, plum and mirabelle plum, but also various vegetables and weeds.
Black bean louse© hakoar - Fotolia.com
This insect trains several generations living in colonies. The winged and wingless juveniles are broadly oval and dark green to matt black in color. Infested leaves curl up and the tips of the shoots twist. The louse spreads on beans, potatoes and beets, but also on snowball and cones.
Large rose aphid© Eric - Fotolia.com
The pest has a long, spindle-shaped body with a black head. The body is green or pink.
The black feelers are about as long as the animal's body and usually a little longer. The terrain of this aphid is roses, apple, pear and strawberry.
Eriosoma Lanigerum© commons.wikimedia.org
The wingless adult animals are dark brown to dark purple in color. In addition, the body is covered with long, white, wool-like wax threads over the specimens living in the ground. The apple aphid living underground is littered with whitish-blue wax particles.
This lousy insect does harm to apple, pear and quince.
Other aphid species that are up to mischief in the home garden:
- the green apple aphid
- the great plum aphid
- the currant bubble louse
- the oleander aphid
- the sitkalaus
The evil of the lousy plague
Aphids can cause considerable damage in the garden, which can lead to loss of yield and quality or even complete loss of harvest. With their proboscis, the insect pests prick the plant cells of young, juicy leaves and shoots and suck out the sugary plant sap.
However, since they only need a small amount of protein from the plant sap for life, they excrete part of the sugary sap again. This partially covers the plant with a sticky juice called honeydew.
Fresh honeydew attracts other insects that feed on it. Ants in particular are obsessed with this sugary excretion and milk the aphids. The ant even defends the aphid from attacks by beneficial organisms.
Wind and insects often settle spores of fungal diseases on older honeydew deposits. However, the fungal attack does not cause much damage. Only unsightly dark mold spots are left.
The flyable aphids pose another problem. When new plants are colonized, they can become infected with virus diseases and these then spread to fruit trees or perennials, for example.
Prevent aphids naturally
"Prevention is better than cure", this popular saying can also be used by the hobby gardener if he wants to save his plants from aphid plague in the garden. The best way to prevent 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 shrubs
- Grow vegetables in mixed crops
- Avoid over-fertilization with nitrogen. Nitrogen continuously stimulates the plant to produce juicy young shoots, from whose plant juice aphids benefit.
- Plant tree slices of fruit trees with nasturtium, which keeps aphids away.
Lacewings, ladybugs and co decimate aphids
Helpers in protecting against aphids are the beneficial insects. These are natural enemies of the lousy evildoers. The following are of great benefit:
- parasitic wasps
- Predatory bugs and other beneficial insects.
Some of these useful helpers settle well in the garden. This is how the scent of catnip seduces the lacewing. The aphid also exudes the same attractant as this plant and attracts the fly.
Ladybugs keep it in the garden if they find enough food. A small wildflower meadow with dill, yarrow, corn poppy and buckwheat can be an additional source of aphids for ladybugs.
It is also advisable to set up enough nesting facilities in the garden, such as a small dead wood hedge, a lacewing box or an insect hotel. If the beneficial organisms feel comfortable in your garden, the aphid infestation will noticeably decrease 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. In the course of the summer, this creates a balance that is easy to live with.
Home remedies can work wonders
Before you use the commercially available plant protection products, tried and tested home remedies are recommended. If the aphid infestation is rather manageable, you can already achieve good results with a core soap solution, nettle or tobacco stock.
Beneficial plant protection
The so-called spurting spray on fruit trees in spring has proven itself to prevent aphid infestation. When the buds become plump and the first tips of the leaves can be seen, the trees and shrubs are treated thoroughly with a beneficial sprinkling spray such as "Promanal". Rapeseed oil, the active ingredient, penetrates the smallest bark crevices and covers aphids and hibernating pests with a fine oil film so that they die.
Plant protection against aphids should in any case be beneficial to the beneficial species. After all, the hobby gardener does not want to disturb the natural balance of beneficial organisms and their food requirements in the garden. And so you can choose from the range of beneficial products in the gardening trade. These preparations work on the basis of rapeseed oil or potash soap. Products such as “Naturen aphid-free” or “Neudosan aphid-free” are examples. These agents clog the aphid respiratory system so that the insects suffocate over time. In order to detect as many pests as possible, it is important that the plants are sprayed thoroughly from all sides.