An aphid colony does not have to mean the death of the infested plant. Because if you follow the right advice, the pests will soon be history.
Black aphids are a real nuisance for most amateur gardeners. Often it seems almost too late when you discover the infestation of the small creepy crawlies on the kitchen basil or on the rose bush in the garden. However, although aphids have a pretty bad reputation, they are actually quite impressive creatures. According to scientific findings, the miniature insects, which usually grow to a size of only around two millimeters, have been living on our planet for over 200 million years.
The aphids' diet consists of plant sap, which they take from the pathways of the host plants with their proboscises. The little creepers do not need the carbohydrates they contain and therefore excrete them as sugary honeydew. Honeydew, in turn, provides ants with a perfect food base. It is not uncommon for aphids and ants to live in harmonious symbiosis and sometimes the former even escort their "pets" to fresh greenery to ensure the population.
For plant owners, however, black aphids are more likely to be considered pests, as they deprive the crops of nutrients. However, if you want to get rid of the annoying little animals, you should not use environmentally harmful poison right away, as this often kills other important insects. Instead, it is worth resorting to natural remedies to get aphid infestation under control.
How to get rid of black aphids without any chemistry at all?
Two ladybugs eat an aphid colony. © IMAGO
If you discover black lice on your plants, but don't have a suitable antidote at hand, you can first remove the annoying beasts by hand. Of course, this method is only suitable if the infestation has not yet spread very far and the plant has not yet been damaged too much. However, removing the lice one by one from the leaves and shoots is a lengthy process. It is easier to wrap a few strips of tape around your fingers and get the small insects out of the green.
In the case of plants that have to be cut back regularly anyway, it is advisable to cut off particularly infested parts. However, do not dispose of these plant pieces in the compost under any circumstances, but instead in household waste to avoid a new aphid infestation. However, since black aphids multiply fairly quickly, in many cases it is already too late to remove the pests manually. Fortunately, however, there are some effective home remedies that will allow you to control aphids naturally.
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Plant manure and decoctions help against aphid infestation
To get rid of black aphids on plants, in no case does not need an environmentally harmful chemical club. Although some – undoubtedly highly effective – insecticides can be found in retail, you can use natural home remedies for aphid infestation with peace of mind. The use of so-called plant manure, which can be easily produced at home, has always proven to be particularly promising. Rhubarb leaves, nettles, garlic, fern, ivy and field horsetail are particularly suitable as a basis against aphids.
For the liquid manure, pour about ten liters of water on one kilogram of crushed plant material and cover the mixture airtight. During the fermentation process, which lasts one to two weeks, the liquid manure is stirred regularly. The plant residues are filtered out at the end and the liquid is diluted again with a little water before the infested plants are then watered with the agent and sprayed.
Also, a decoction of tobacco or vegetable oil diluted with water can be used to kill black aphids. However, it is important to remember that nicotine can also be harmful to plants and oils may prevent the plants from breathing. Before using these home remedies, you should therefore clarify whether your infested plant is suitable for the methods.
Just let other little animals work for you
As described above, aphids are a natural part of the food chain. While ants only use the excretions of their little helpers as a food source, there are of course also some animals for which the aphids themselves are an important part of the diet. In order to rid an infested plant of the annoying pests, you can also resort to so-called beneficial insects.
This method is particularly suitable for an unwanted aphid colony in the garden, but plants in the house can also benefit from certain beneficial insects. Ladybugs and lacewings, among others, as well as their larvae, enjoy a sumptuous aphid buffet. Earwigs and smaller songbird species such as also plaster an entire colony of black aphids in no time at all. With insect hotels and nest boxes, you can attract these natural pest controllers and save your plants. In addition, you not only ensure healthy greenery in the house and garden, but also support important insects and birds in their daily search for food.