Q&As/Insects and Pests/Spring Onions and Chives

Question

I have a problem with aphids on my spring onions and chives. I’ve been drowning them in Neem Oil and it is working, but I’d love to know how quickly those things can breed in a day. It seems they can multiply by hundreds over night? 

Answer

Aphids do have a wide range of host plants they attack, especially those with soft new growth like spring onions or chives. You are spot on in your observation of aphid numbers rapidly increasing at certain times and there is a reason for this. 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.
It’s good that you are having success with Neem Oil treating the problem. You could also try and deter pests with companion planting. This organic technique means planting specific plants to attract beneficial insects or repel the pest varieties. For instance planting Marigolds helps attract hoverfly which in turn eats pests like aphids, scale, mealy bug and thrips. 
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 well that you will grow your vegetables in - enrich and aerate it by digging in plenty of Daltons Compost a week to two weeks before planting. 
Top Tip: 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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