They are small, soft-bodied pests that cluster and feed on sappy new growth and attack a wide range of garden plants including roses, citrus and many annuals. They are commonly seen in spring and summer when plants are actively growing. There numbers will grow rapidly when the conditions are ideal, such as warm and moist climatic conditions and abundant food. Some aphids spread virus disease.
Aphids are hard to control if you don’t keep an eye on them and they grow rapidly. Prevention is the best method by removing them when there are only a few so check your plants every couple of days during these conditions.
Control options include encouraging beneficial insects such as ladybirds (adult and larvae) that feed voraciously on aphids. Always check for the presence of beneficial insects before using other control measures. Aphids can also be physically removed by being squashed or hosed off a plant. Also remove ants, for example, using sticky barriers around the trunk.
Natural chemical controls such as EarthCare Natural Pyrethrum insect spray can be used to kill infestations. When spraying the foliage follow the direction on the back of the pack and spray both sides of the foliage. Repeat application maybe needed for further control. Remember not to spray when beneficial insects and bees are around.
A healthy garden can also help prevent pest infestation. If your plants are strong and healthy, they may be able to handle and reduce the stress of pests and diseases. Applying Seasol regularly every two weeks during the year can help them to cope with environmental stress. Keeping plants fed with fertilisers such as PowerFeed All Purpose including Natives, better watering and appropriate light exposure can also help build tougher plants.