The Q&A Archives: Which is better for aphid removal?

Question: I don't use any chemicals in my garden...I want to get some natural predators to release, but I've seen a few and after reading I'm not sure which to get...ladybugs, lacewings or praying mantises. Just looking for an expert opinion because right now I'm divided between the three.

Answer: Ladybugs and their larvae are the number one consumers of aphids so that's what I would use. Instead of chemicals you can try hosing off the pests as soon as you see them. A strong stream of water will dislodge the aphids. Or, spraying insecticidal soaps such as Safer's is usually accepted in organic gardens. Insecticidal soaps are plant derived and are basically fatty acids of plants such as corn. The fatty acids break down the soft bodied insects' waxy coating. If you have lots of flowers in bloom at all times you will attract beneficial insects to your garden, including those that prey on aphids. There are tiny wasps that parasitize aphids, and ladybugs whose offspring feed on aphids. You can eventually strike a natural balance in your garden if you are patient and if you have lots of flowers blooming all season long. Best wishes with your garden.

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