Aphids – How Dangerous Are These Garden Pests in Reality?

Posted by Irene on Nov 3, 2011 under Gardening

Aphids are every gardener’s nightmare. Curled leaves and clusters of microscopically small black, green or white creatures beneath the leaves or plant stalks covered with a thick layer of tiny insects are without a doubt a sign of aphid infestation. Although they are extremely small, aphids can cause severe damage to garden plants because they feed on plant sap and always attack plants in huge amounts. But are they really as dangerous to your garden plants as most gardeners claim? Right the opposite, they usually do not cause any substantial damage in otherwise healthy and well established gardens. Let’s see why.

Aphids are impossible to keep out of your garden no matter what you do. They feed on specific plants only but unfortunately, garden plants tend to be among their favourites. However, they do not always suck the life out of garden plants which can clearly be seen on the example of chamomiles. Aphids are particularly attracted by chamomiles and can be found in thick clusters on just about every chamomile plant but they do not seem to have any effect on chamomiles other than making the harvest of the blossoms a sticky job. And if they do not cause any damage to chamomiles, how can they possibly kill trees?

First of all, it is important to make clear that we are talking about a garden not single-crop plantations which are more susceptible to damage due to aphid infestation. In contrary to monoculture plantations consisting of a single crop, gardens typically consist of a variety of different plant species not all of which are attractive to aphids. On the contrary, some are even repulsive to these sap sucking creatures and can be used to reduce the risk of severe aphid infestation. The so-called aphid repellent plants such as garlic, onion, chives, basil and some others are used by organic gardeners as a natural aphid prevention measure. These plants do not keep aphids out of garden, however, they significantly reduce their number. In addition to repelling aphids, a number of garden plants also attracts insects such as ladybirds which feed on aphids and help keep them in “safe” amounts.

Aphids can be dangerous for garden plants but if you provide your plants optimal conditions for growth and avoid the use of chemicals in your garden, aphids are unlikely to be a serious threat to your garden plants. These annoying pests will come regardless if you use any chemicals in your garden or not but a chemical-free garden will not only attract aphids but it will also attract wildlife species which are their natural enemy. Aphid infestation sometimes does require the gardener’s intervention but aphids are easily controlled with all natural and environmentally friendly pesticides which can be found in most garden centres or made by yourself such as stinging nettle spray for example. But please keep in mind that even organic pesticides can be harmful for other wildlife species so be sure to use them with caution.

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