Aphids are garden pests, and with the many species of aphids, there seems to be one for almost any kind of plants. But will they live on herbs, and how can we stop them from damaging our herbs.
How to Prevent Aphids on Herbs
The easiest way to deal with an aphid problem is to prevent it in the first place. Certain aphid species appear to prefer herbs to other kinds of plants.
If you are wanting to plant some herbs but are worried about aphids, here are a few preventative measures that you can take.
Plant Herbs that Repel Aphids
There are actually a large number of herbs that repel aphids. These herbs include garlic, chives, and mint. You can make a herb garden consisting solely of repellent herbs, or you can intersperse repellent herbs with other non-repellent herbs.
Use Trap Plants
Trap plants are hardy plants that can withstand holding an aphid colony. A common example of a trap plant is a sunflower. Planting a sunflower near your herb garden will attract aphids so that they will live on the sunflower and ignore the herbs growing in your garden.
What Aphids Live on Herbs?
There are many different species of aphids so, let’s have a look at which ones you are actually likely to find subsisting on the herbs in your garden.
These aphids live on the soil close to growing plants. They take the sap from the root of the plants, rather than the leaves, so many of these will prefer to stay on plants such as herbs. Root aphids are often a creamy white colour and can be mistaken for mealworms.
Cotton aphids can infest many different herbs but are most commonly found on herbs like basil and parsley. Cotton aphids are usually a dark yellow colour.
As you may expect from the name, these species of aphids are most commonly found on parsley plants. They can be quickly destructive and are usually varying shades of brown and rusty colours.
Other aphids will live on herbs, but the three listed above seem to prefer to live on herbs and are most commonly found there.
How to Get Rid of Aphids on Herbs
So, we’ve taken preventative measures and know how to identify any problems. Sadly, there might still be an aphid colony that has worked its way into your garden and on to your herbs. If that is the case, then here are some easy ways to get rid of the aphids in your garden.
Use Natural Predators
Many biological control suppliers can provide you with natural predators of aphids. These predators are most commonly ladybugs and lacewing larvae. Introducing these predators into your garden will help you keep up a healthy eco-system, and they will also greatly help control the aphid population.
Use Natural Aphid Sprays
It may be tempting to reach for the commercial insect spray bottle, but those insecticides contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment and are also not great for your plants. Instead, you can make your own spray.
To do this, add 3 teaspoons of natural dish soap per 1 litre of tap water. Mix the two and pour them into a spray bottle. Then you can spray the leaves, make sure to get the undersides as well, to kill the aphids living on your plants. The oil in the soap acts by suffocating the aphids, trapping them under the water. Make sure to use natural dish soap, or you could risk damaging your plants.
If you are unsure if your solution is safe to use, then you can do a test on a singular plant before applying it to your whole garden.
To summarise, here are a few key points from this article. Preventing aphids can easily be done by growing aphid-repellent herbs like mint or adding trap plants.
The species of aphids you are most likely to find living on your herbs are root aphids and cotton aphids.
To get rid of an aphid infestation, you can use natural aphid predators such as ladybugs. You can also make your own natural spray using natural dish soap and water, suffocating the aphids.
Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden