Aphids are one of the most common garden pests. They will attack nearly all plants. They puncture stems and new growth in order to suck the sap, in the process deforming leaves and new growth. They also excrete a substance, commonly called ‘dew’, which attracts ants. This ’dew’ also weakens plants and makes them more susceptible to mould.
Many chemical insecticides are effective against aphids, but they also kill their natural enemies.
Ladybirds are one such enemy.
One ladybird can eat up to 400 aphids in a week, making them a valuable allay of the gardener. Herbs offer natural alternatives to chemicals and they do not harm the environment.
Areas where chives, tansy and lavender grow will be unattractive to aphids. Research also indicates that they will not prey on plants growing near nasturtiums with orange and yellow flowers.
Spraying aphids with soapy water can be effective, or make your own herbal spray by boiling two tablespoons of coriander in 200 ml of water. Garlic, wormwood and basil boiled in water is another effective spray.
Remember to apply herbal sprays at least every second day until the infestation has been cleared.