Gardening

Characteristics of aphids or aphids and their ecological control

The aphids are a very large group of insects. They belong to the order Hemiptera , suborder Homoptera (cycadelas, aphids, whiteflies and mealybugs).

The aphid can be black, yellow, green, orange, etc … with an approximate size of 1 to 6 mm, we can see it with the naked eye, and they are mainly found in warm areas with little humidity, being their time of greatest activity spring and summer. Also the land with excess fertilizers favors its propagation.

The aphid is one of the most common pests. They form colonies and feed on the sap of plants. The symptoms that a parasitized plant presents are: deformations, decay, dents in leaves and flowers, but also due to the honeydew that they excrete, they attract ants that make the black fungus develop ,  they are also carriers of viruses, slow or stop development of the plant and its fruits, can even dry out the plant.

Aphids have different life cycles depending on the host plant: there are monoecious species , which only live on one plant, and heteroecia , which live on several plants depending on the season of the year. Regarding their reproduction, there are two types: viviparous and oviparous aphids, their colonies being very prolific in short periods of time.

For this reason, it is essential to have the crops controlled and to identify, in the early stages, the presence of aphids. The place to examine will be the underside of the leaves , especially the new leaves and young shoots, which are their favorites. We can also be alert to the symptoms that the plant may present, such as rolled and sticky leaves, bold, yellow or green spots and the presence of ants, etc.

So don’t forget to rotate crops every year, plant some aphid repellent plants such as lavender, nasturtium, honeysuckle or nettle. Here you can see more combinations.

To control the aphid plague we can take advantage of the presence of its natural enemies, or auxiliary fauna :

– Species of the genus Aphidius

 

 

 

 

 

– Neuroptera larvae and adults

 

 

 

 

– Coccinellid beetles

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Diptera larvae

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Some Hymenoptera are also aphid predators

 

 

 

 

 

 

What else can we do to combat aphids?

1. Soapy water is a good ecological remedy to combat them: spray the affected plants with a tablespoon of neutral liquid soap diluted in a liter of water.

2. Boil two cups of water with the peel of an orange. You let it rest for 24 hours, you strain them and add white soap, 50/50 quantities and spray on the affected plants.

3. With onion: we will need 2 large onions per liter of water, boil 10 minutes, let cool, strain and ready to use.

4. Garlic gives us two possibilities: we plant it near the plants, cut in halves or whole (this helps us to prevent and combat the plague) and we can also prepare a water to spray the plants, we boil 8 medium garlic cloves in a liter of water for 20 minutes, we let it rest 24 hours before using it.

5. Nettle: let 100 gr of leaves marinate in water for 15 days, stir the mixture every day, strain and ready to use. This also strengthens the plants and makes them more resistant to pests and diseases. Here you can see more.

6. Tomato leaves: we boil them for 15 minutes and let it rest overnight. We strain and spray on the plants.

7. Wormwood: we macerate 300 grams for each liter of water for a week. we strain and spray on the affected plants. 

8. Horsetail is highly recommended to strengthen the plant, apply it in spring to face the summer, or after having passed a plague for the recovery of the plant.

To prevent pests, it is essential to keep the garden in good condition, and if we see leaves or fruits in poor condition, it is better to discard them immediately.

 

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