Aphids are right here at the top of the list when it comes to garden pests. Not only are the damaging to plants but they also exude honeydew from their abdomens attracting hordes of ants and an unsightly black fungus known as sooty mould. Of course you could go out and spend your hard earned cash on indiscriminate or organic insecticides but wouldn't it be so much easier - and kinder to the environment - if you could get nature to do all of the hard work for you?

Of course it is, but sometimes nature also needs a hand and while there are always a few aphid predators around there are generally not in large enough quantities or aphid infestation have become too great for their predators to make any serious impact.

However there is an alternate way which works particularly well with aphid predator insects where only the larvae are the predators (lacewings and hoverflies), and that is to provide plants that the adults are attracted to. They may not be as attractive as you normal choice of ornamental garden plants but they more than make up for it in usefulness.

Below is a list of plants that will attract the main aphid predators:

Achillea - ladybirds and lacewings
Alyssum – hoverflies
Angelica gigas – lace wings
Convolvulus minor – ladybirds and hoverflies
Cosmos bipinnatus – ladybirds and hoverflies
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace)- ladybirds, lacewings and hoverflies
Filipendulina – Ladybirds and lacewings
Foeniculum vulgare (fennel) - ladybirds and lacewings
Iberis umbellatehoverflies
Limonium latifolium (Statice) – hoverflies
Lupin - hoverflies
Petroselinum crispum (parsley) – hoverflies
Tanacetum vulgare (tansy) – ladybirds and lacewings

By using just a few of these plants you can easily tip the balance in favour of aphid predator adults. More importantly, if your choice of planting is such that you have a good succession of flowering throughout the main part of the year, you can reach a point where you will have difficulties in finding any aphid infestations.

And of course, once these plants are established your predators will return year after year without any further intervention.

For related articles click onto the following links:
Growing Plants to Attract Beneficial Insects

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