Root Aphids have appeared in several of our beds! They first appeared about 6-8 weeks ago in the 6 beds that I have put aside for salad production, then last week I noticed them in another bed on the opposite side of the garden which worries me a little, because I am now concerned that they could start to pop up in the beds in between.
I have searched the internet for more information on Root Aphids and haven’t really been able to find much, so firstly can anyone please give me a little more information on these bugs? For example are there certain conditions that they favour? Do they attack ALL veggies or just curtain ones (so far they have gone through our lettuce crop and they started on the Tuberous Parsley- I have cleared all the affected beds and they are currently empty)? Is there any way to stop the spread or discourage them to start with? Controlling them is one thing but I would like to get to the underlying reason for their appearance in the first place. The only thing that we have done majorly different this year is use nematodes for slug and snail control; could the drop in slug population be a factor? It doesn’t feel as though it would be but I could be wrong.
It would seem that most people recommend either neem oil and garlic water drenches for the affected plants. This got me thinking... next week I am going to plant our garlic and I was thinking of planting garlic into these lettuce beds (which as I say are empty at the minute and will be now until next season) may be triple spacing the garlic so that I can plant lettuces in between them next spring. However I am concerned that the Root Aphids may attack the garlic plants, from what I have read it would seem unlikely but some thoughts on this would be appreciated.
Also I have been advised not to plant lettuces in these beds again next year, which would mean that I would have to change the bed rotation for this part of the garden, not a major problem and I guess continually growing lettuces and mustards in the same beds isn’t all together that wise any way. But that does raise the question what should I plant in these beds, what veggies are not going to be susceptible to attack by Root Aphids and therefore which rotation should use these beds? It seems that the Alliums especially the garlic would be an obvious contender, again any thoughts on this.
The thing that has me worried is the speed with which these bugs are killing the plants, the plants are totally infested and dead within a couple of days of the initial outbreak and in all cases the roots are mush.
Thanks Miles, this might help with the control aspect of the Root Aphids, I am still interested to know if they can be controlled or deterred by companion planted of Alliums and also if they are plant or species or range of species specific, as this would help with the planning of planting next year, as from what I understand this time of the year they tend to lay their eggs and die back until the spring when they can reappear.