Gardening can be a great way to get outside, interact with nature, and support your local ecosystem. But it can also be filled with unforeseen horrors. One gardener recently returned from vacation to find that their nasturtiums were overtaken by an aphid infestation and turned to Reddit for advice.
“Just came back from vacation. What is murdering my Nasturtiums?” the Redditor posted.
“Honestly, quite possibly the worst aphid infestation I’ve ever seen,” one poster replied.
“My neighbor’s outdoor cotton rose plant had an aphid infestation, 1/10th of this, perhaps,” wrote another. “I was so creeped out then, I am positively horrified right now.”
Luckily, despite how bad the pictures look, it’s not all bad news for this gardener. There is a way to deal with aphids without resorting to harmful pesticides: attracting or releasing a bunch of ladybugs, the aphids’ greatest predators.
You can plant things that draw the ladybugs to your garden or even just order some online and release them into your garden.
“You need to do an all-call for every single lady bug on earth,” one commenter wrote.
Ladybugs are preferable to pesticides, which are poisonous and cause harm to wildlife and people and eventually find their way into waterways. Ladybugs, on the other hand, cause no harm to anything but the plant-destroying aphids.
However, as several commenters pointed out, it is probably a bit late in the season for this gardener to even be worrying about all of that.
“This late in the year I wouldn’t bother trying to get rid of them, and in my experience the nasturtiums don’t really mind anyway,” wrote another commenter. “Creating places in my garden where ladybugs can overwinter seems to have made a big structural difference in aphid populations for me!”
The members of the r/gardening subreddit weren’t united in their opinions about what to do about the aphid infestation, but they were mostly convinced that the problem was not as dire as it first seemed.
“Just let the aphid have their way with them. Their sacrifice saves your other plants. Plus soon they will attract predatory bugs,” wrote another poster.
“Buy green lacewings if you can! They eat aphids just as much as ladybugs but they are far less migratory and will stay around longer!” another wrote.
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