The recent warm weather has seen numbers of whitefly and aphids escalate dramatically, affecting plants around the country.
What are they?
Did you know that there are more than 500 species of aphids in Britain? Aphids are sap-sucking tree bugs that cause plants to lack vigour and become distorted. They also release a sticky substance (honeydew) onto the affected plant which then encourages the growth of sooty moulds. You can usually see aphid infestations with the naked eye- look for aphid colonies on shoot tips, flower buds and the underside of young leaves. You can usually also identify an aphid problem if you observe the white cast skins of the aphids on the upper surface of leaves.
Whitefly are common insects that feed on the sap of plants. Much like aphids, there are many different species of whitefly. The species of whitefly corresponds with which plants they target, for example the glasshouse whitefly is a problem for greenhouse plants such as cucumber, tomato and peppers and houseplants such as poinsettias. Most whitefly species are easily seen on infested plants. When a plant with a whitefly problem is disturbed, clouds of small white-winged insects will fly upwards. Like aphids, whiteflies also excrete honeydew on the plants which, again, will encourage mould growth.
What can be done?
Like many insects, aphids and whitefly have many natural enemies, for example parasitic wasps and Macrolophus pygmaeus adults. These can be introduced into your garden and on specific plants as a natural method of control for these troublesome insects.
Another non-chemical method of control is using yellow insect sticky traps (stocked on our website). These traps attract the whitefly/aphids and then, as they are sticky, trap the insects until they die. They are ideal for use in greenhouses, poly tunnels or a conservatory; to use, simply hang them above the plants you wish to protect.
Resolva Bug Killer is a great, fast acting product for the control of a range of pests (including aphids and whitefly) on over 30 types of fruit, vegetables and flowers. It is suitable for use both indoors and outdoors and will keep working against pests for up to 2 weeks.
Vulcan is a broad-spectrum insecticide containing 20% w/w acetamiprid. It effectively controls aphids, whitefly and pine weevil in horticulture, trees and ornamentals. It is also suitable for a number of edible crops.
If you any queries about aphids and whitefly or any other pests please get it touch.
The Agrigem Technical Team