June 30, 2005

Woolly Aphids

Every year since I planted my beech hedge, woolly aphids (the white things on the leaf) have been sucking the sap out of it:

They don't do the plants a lot of good. On full grown trees there's sometimes so many aphids that their excreta falls off (honeydew) staining whatever happens to be underneath. The excreta is often eaten by a black mould.

Now chemical warfare against aphids is a fool's game. You spray, the aphids die. But so do the predators of the aphids (how would you fare on poisoned food?). So as there's nothing eating the aphids, as soon as the spraying stops their numbers explode. The chemical companies have you hooked

The alternative is ecological management. The main predator of aphids in my garden is the ladybird:

Unfortunately all but a tiny proportion die off in the winter, so there's not many to eat the woolly aphids the next spring.

The solution:

Supposedly the ladybirds overwinter in the box, ready to feast on the first woolly aphids that emerge.

Well I'm glad to say since installing the box, woolly aphid numbers on my hedge have reduced enormously. There may be a factor totally unconnected to my ladybird box at play, only time will tell.

Loads of woolly aphids

- 6 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. Where do you get the box from?

    07 Jun 2005, 10:12

  2. Sorry, found it on the greengardener.co.uk site….

    07 Jun 2005, 10:14

  3. Actually I got the idea from Green Gardener – but the box from Ryton Organic Gardens

    07 Jun 2005, 11:21

  4. I've got one now. Apparently they should start populating it next spring. Thanks for the idea.

    PS: We had a lovely meal at Ryton as well.

    19 Jul 2005, 17:40

  5. martin hesketh

    Sorry but that isnt woolly aphid,that is beech aphid which is more like a green fly

    16 Oct 2006, 20:02

  6. The amount I know about insects can be written on the back of a postage stamp.

    Green Gardener uses the term “Beech Woolly Aphid”.

    Isn’t the woolly protection used by some aphids (such as those which feed on beech and apple trees) considered significant in the insect’s taxonomy?

    17 Oct 2006, 10:11

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