Did you know that there are 3000 different species of aphids worldwide? Only 850 of them live in Central Europe - but that's still enough to terrify the local garden and plant world. Because aphids stop at no plant, since they are primarily after the plant sap, which they feed on and excrete in the form of a sticky-sweet honeydew. This in turn attracts other insects such as ants, wasps or honey bees that are after the honeydew. Under optimal conditions, the aphids can multiply at breakneck speed and cause great damage to the affected plant. And that from the beginning of spring until autumn - if you don't fight the pests successfully.
They are only a few millimeters in size and have a small proboscis with which they suck out the plant sap. There are black and green, red and yellow, brown and white aphids, some of which can even fly - but most species don't have wings. Their reproduction takes place unisexually, the technical term for this is parthenogenesis and translated means: After the males and females have mated, the female lays fertilized eggs from which only females hatch - which in turn give birth to living offspring without fertilization by a male. And these young animals are also exclusively females and have offspring without being fertilized. Each female gives birth to up to five young in just one day, which live for a few weeks.
At the latest when they colonize a plant densely packed in whole colonies, even a layman recognizes the infestation. Aphids prefer fresh shoots and leaves, so they are usually found on the underside of the leaves or near the base of the leaves. Aside from literally sucking the plants dry, they do far more damage to the plant by transmitting viral diseases. For this reason, quick action is required and not only when you recognize the aphids. Look out for the following signs of an infestation on your plants: wrinkled, dried up or discolored leaves, stunted growth or said colonies on the undersides of the leaves and shoots of the plant.
Yellow trap This is a sticky trap that is non-toxic and completely odorless. The yellow surface was glued on both sides and contains a special attractant that magically attracts winged aphids - so that they stick to it and die. The trap is suitable for plugging and hanging.
Aphid sticksThese sticks are equally suitable for balcony and indoor plants. They contain the active ingredient flupyradifuron and are simply planted in the ground to combat or prevent aphids. Be careful with the dosage, however, as it is not a fertilizer.
Plant protection spray The spray, which is aptly named Neudosan AF Neu Blattlausfrei, is intended to effectively combat the pests without harming beneficial insects such as ladybirds, lacewings or parasitic wasps. It can be used indoors and outdoors and was rated "very good" by Ökotest.
Like any other pest, aphids have natural enemies. These include ladybugs, hoverflies, lacewings, parasitic wasps, caterpillar flies, assassin bugs, ground beetles and soft beetles. Very few of them can be successfully bred - except for ladybugs and their larvae. They are extremely effective in the fight against aphids: after all, a beetle eats up to 150 aphids a day, a larva even manages 800.
Alternatively, you can also try parasitic wasps: the insects are tiny but extremely effective. As soon as they hatch, they lay their eggs in those of the aphids. The good thing about insects is that if there are no more aphids or eggs, the parasitic wasps disappear automatically. If you have a garden, you can of course also build an insect hotel in which many beneficial insects feel at home.
Milk and tea: Other ingredients that you always have at home are milk and tea: either mix some milk with water in a ratio of 1:2 and spray it on the affected plant, or use black tea: boil 500 milliliters of water and leave two teabags in it for 15 minutes. Once the water has cooled, spray onto the plant as directed. The tannins in it kill the aphids.
This article contains so-called affiliate links. Further information are available here.