Q&As/Insects and Pests/Chive Pests

Question

I have these little black bugs on my chive plant. I’d like to know what they are and how to get rid of them please.

Answer

It sounds like your plant is being attacked by aphids (there are different colours) which have a wide range of host plants they attack, especially those with soft new growth like chives.

Aphids do reproduce in the usual way in early summer, however, in the peak of the season the females can produce enormous numbers of offspring without having mated. This accounts for the massive number of aphids appearing virtually overnight.

As aphids appear, spray them with a garden hose, projecting a reasonably hard pressured mist to dislodge them. This action should be repeated at regular intervals 2-3 times a day initially. The aphids rapidly become discouraged and will often move away.

On more mature plants, spray a diluted solution of horticultural oil which will deal with aphids very efficiently. With edible plants, soapy water is also quite effective in controlling populations of aphids, especially with repeat applications over a short period of time.

You may wish to try growing garlic chives instead, which are the same as normal chives apart from a slight garlicky flavour. This variety tends to be slightly more resistant to black aphids. Of course growing healthy strong plants also means they will be more resistant to pests and diseases. Soil plays an important part in this, so always prepare the soil that you will grow your vegetables in well - enrich and aerate it by digging in plenty of Daltons Compost 1-2 weeks before planting.

Apply side dressings of Daltons Vegetable Fert every 4-6 weeks throughout the growing period (depending on what you grow and how often you water your garden) to help keep plants in optimum health. 

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