Q. How do I control aphids in the garden?
Light infestations of aphids are easy to control, especially early in the season. Simply spray infested plants vigorously once every other day, in the early morning, to knock the pests off your plants (check under leaves too). Aphids usually appear in early spring before the beneficial insects arrive.
Good and bad insects: Insects themselves are beneficial allies that prey on or parasitize pests. There is no need to kill off every last pest insect on your property. The beneficial predators need some food to encourage them to stay around. A healthy balance of beneficial and pest insects tends to keep outbreaks under control.
Insect predators (good bugs) include assassin bugs, big-eyed bugs, chalcid wasps, damselflies, dance flies, ground beetles, hover flies, ladybugs, minute pirate bugs, predatory thrips, soldier beetles, spiders, the orange larvae of predatory midges, and others. These insects keep aphid populations down.
Beneficial insects such as lady bugs and their larvae eat lots of pests, as much as 40 aphids an hour. Plants that attract these helpful critters in the garden include flowering plants such as angelica, goldenrod, morning–glory, and yarrow. Yarrow is easy to grow from seed.
For more information about flowers that attract beneficial bugs, visit Flowers for Borders.
Contact your local garden center if you need to purchase beneficial insects.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service