Are thousands of tiny aphids sucking the life out of your rose buds? Metro Natural Gardening Expert Carl Grimm showed us how to take ‘em out without toxics, keeping your kids, pets and waterways safe and healthy.
Know your “enemy” (or are they just free birdfeeders?)
• Aphids are small and soft-bodied, with sucking mouthparts and incredible reproduction potential.
• They weaken plants, drip sugary “honeydew,” cause sootymold and can transmit plant diseases.
• Since they suck sugar out of plants’ phloem cells, they’re also like bon bons to song birds.
Blast them with water
• Sounds rough, but all it takes is a blast of water or the brush of your finger to wipe them off your roses, works as well as insecticide, without the hangover.
Let nature do your dirty work
• Get a close-up camera and the creatures that munch on aphids would out-freak any alien movie gore scenes you can imagine.
• Harmless to humans miniwasps lay eggs inside aphids. The larva eats the guts out and exits the back, leaving a neat little round hole.
• Ladybird beetles, aka ladybugs can chomp down hundreds of aphids a day.
• Tachanid flies, hover flies, lacewings and more are all aphids’ worst enemies, and all you need to do to get them on your side is stop spraying pesticides and plant some more pretty flowers.
• Plant natives, annuals, perennials and more to provide pollen, nectar and habitat for beneficial bugs who will fight your future bug battles for you.
• Lay off the fast-acting chemical fertilizers and stick with the slow release organic stuff and you will have far fewer aphids (and less disease problems, too).
• Call Metro at 234-3000, or head to their website, to receive their free e-newletter and take the healthy lawn and garden pledge.