Greenflies are one of the most common pests to attack gardens. They are attracted to plants by their sweet-smelling honeydew, making it sticky and black sooty mould can grow on top of it. If you notice your plant is being attacked by greenflies, there are many things you can do before resorting to insecticides.
How To Get Rid Of Greenfly?
Greenflies are tiny, sap-sucking insects that commonly feed on the juices of plants. They are about 1mm long and usually found in clusters. Greenflies cannot be seen with the naked eye, so if you see something resembling a small fly it could be these plant pests.
They start to appear during early spring when the weather becomes warmer and reproduce quickly. Once the weather becomes wetter it encourages the greenfly to produce honeydew – a sticky substance that can attract mould spores and grow into black sooty mould, which is difficult to clean off surfaces.
The first way to deal with the problem is by using natural remedies. Insecticidal soap, for example, can be used on new growth which will kill them but won’t harm pets or plants. It is important to make sure it doesn’t come into contact with any part of your body and will need thorough washing off afterwards.
Another option is to plant nectar rich flowers such as fennel and lavender which attracts parasitic wasps that will parasitise the greenfly and kill them before they reach maturity.
Spider mites are another common pest of greenfly and can be dealt with by using natural predators such as Phytoseiulus persimilis (also known as Amblyseius species). These are more effective than using pesticides and, like the parasitic wasp, they can be introduced into your garden at any time throughout the year.
Another trick is to spray neem oil which will not only kill any greenfly that comes into contact with it but also acts as a repellent.
If all else fails, you can resort to using an insecticide, which will also reduce the number of greenfly in the area and help prevent their return. However, be aware that insects will likely become resistant to any spray or remedy over time so it is best to use them as a temporary solution until the problem has been resolved.
Finally, make sure you dispose of any dead leaves and branches as soon as possible to prevent them from becoming home to a new generation of greenfly.
Here are step by step instructions on how to get rid of greenfly
Remove all infected or infested leaves from the plant. Even if it seems like a small problem, if you have greenflies, they will keep coming back.
Spot treat the infested plant with insecticidal soap to kill the greenfly and prevent further infestation during warm months when greenflies are most active.
Use a hose to wash down leaves and roots of plants to remove any residue honeydew, this will stop it from attracting sooty mould.
Pour white vinegar over infected area to kill the greenfly and the eggs.
Re-apply Neem oil to the plant and repeat step 3 & 4. (if you can’t find neem oil, use an insecticidal soap and continue with step 6)
Place a barrier around the base of your plants to stop greenflies from crawling up and multiplying in numbers. This will help to reduce the number of greenflies.
Spray white vinegar all over your plants, this will kill any greenfly that are still alive and prevent them from laying eggs.
If you have a severe infestation, hire a professional to come round and spray an insecticide on your plants. Be careful when spraying insecticide, always wear gloves and avoid breathing in the fumes.
For best results, you should rotate your sprays every week to ensure that any surviving greenfly don’t become immune to an insecticide.
How do you recognise Greenfly?
Greenflies are tiny insects with a bright green colouring on their backs. They are found in clusters and their size varies depending on the life cycle stage.
What plants are at risk?
Different plants are susceptible to greenfly, so it is important to examine your plants regularly. Greenfly love nectar-rich crops such as zinnias, marigolds and daisies so these should be examined carefully during the summer months.
How to get rid of greenfly with natural remedies
There are a range of natural remedies that can be used to remove greenfly. If you have large, infested plants it may be necessary to use more radical methods. Spraying an insecticide or removing all infected leaves is often necessary. Naturally, the most effective way to get rid of greenflies is by using physical means such as handpicking or spraying with water.
If your greenfly problem is severe enough you may need to take more drastic steps such as removing all infected leaves or spraying an insecticide.
What are the dangers of using chemical sprays?
There are a range of natural remedies that can be used to remove greenfly, but if you have large, infested plants it may be necessary to use physical means such as handpicking or spraying with water.
If your greenfly problem is severe enough you may need to take more drastic steps such as removing all infected leaves or spraying an insecticide. It’s important not to use chemical sprays on plants that are flowering as the chemicals can enter the nectar and damage bees, butterflies and other insects.
How can greenfly damage my garden?
Greenflies can cause major problems for your garden if left untreated. They eat away at the leaves of your plants, eventually killing them off. If you have a lot of greenfly it is likely they are also leaving behind honeydew, which encourages mould spores to grow on your plants.
Ways you can manage the garden to avoid attracting them
There are many ways you can manage the garden to avoid attracting greenflies. You can make sure to keep your plants well fertilized and watered, take out any weeds that may be attracting them, and try not to over-water.
Pesticides can be a good last resort but they should never be used around children or animals since they could be harmful.
Greenfly are a common garden pest and can be difficult to combat. Thankfully, there are many ways you can get rid of them such as using natural remedies or introducing parasites that kill greenflies before they mature. Many insecticides will also help control the population but it’s important to use these in moderation so we don’t create resistant bugs. To prevent future infestations, make sure any dead leaves or branches from your plants never go unused and always dispose of them properly by ensuring they do not come into contact with other parts of the body (including our mouth).
References: How to deter greenfly?