Lupin aphids can be a real problem for lupins, sucking the sap out of them and making them wilt and possibly even die. But can they spread to other plants? By growing lupins are you putting your other plants at risk? Let’s have a look and find out.
Can Lupin Aphids Spread To Other Plants?
Most lupin aphids are flightless and therefore cannot spread even if they wanted to. What happens though is once they fully take over a lupin more aphids with the ability to fly start to appear. These aphids then fly to other lupins and start new colonies.
What Are Lupin Aphids?
Lupin aphids are big buggers, these grey/green aphids are much larger than your typical aphid. They only arrived in the UK in the 1980s and don’t really have any natural predators over here.
While ladybirds will eat aphids in the thousands they tend to leave lupin aphids alone, whether this is to do with the size of the aphids, some of them can be almost as big as a ladybird, or something else I am not too sure.
Most lupin aphids are flightless, this is the female lupin aphid, they stay on your plant and reproduce. And boy can they reproduce quickly. What starts out as just a few bugs can turn into a full-blown infestation in a week or two.
Once there is a full infestation more aphids with the ability to fly will appear, these then spread to other nearby lupins and start a new colony.
What Can You Do About It?
The easiest and safest method of lupin aphid control is to simply squish the little blighters in a bug squashing massacre.
Put some gloves on, because this will get messy, and run the lupin stem between your thumb and forefinger, squashing the aphids as you go.
A bucket of soapy water next to you to wash the bug juice off your gloves is a good idea as you squish. It is messy and time-consuming but because 99% of the aphids will be flightless you can do some serious damage to their numbers.
If, however, you don’t get them all they will soon be back so this is not a one time and done job.
One easy method of trying to keep lupin aphids off your treasured flowers is to spray them off with a high powered hose.
This should knock the aphids off and also kill a few at the same time. This is a fairly easy method and doesn’t harm the plant at all.
Crucially though it won’t kill all of the aphids so it is more of a method to try and minimise the damage rather than get rid of the aphids altogether.
This is one of those home remedies that seem to get recommended for every problem but it can work on Lupin aphids.
The idea behind this is that you spray a diluted mix of washing up liquid onto your aphids. The sticky spray makes it so the aphids can’t breathe and they therefore die.
It does work but it is nowhere near as effective as commercial sprays.
One issue with this method is that it can cause burn like damage to the leaves and flowers of your lupins so you do need to be careful. Just because it is not a pesticide doesn’t mean you can go spray crazy. Rinsing the plant with a follow-up water spray can really help here.
There are lots of different bug sprays that will kill aphids, some organic, some not. I always advise trying to use organic methods where possible but I can understand why you may want to try and use a proper pesticide on lupin aphids.
but I will say, just give the organic methods ago before resorting to pesticides if the other options don’t work.
- Same day, spray and eat
- Contact insecticide for ornamental plants, fruit and vegetables
- 100% natural active ingredient
- Controls greenfly, blackfly, whitefly, scale insects, mealybugs, red spider mites and other mites
- For use both indoors and outdoors all year round
While made for fruit and veg this spray can work just as well on lupins.
The main active ingredient in this spray is rapeseed oil which is where the made from natural ingredients claim comes from. This spray should be a lot better for the environment and other animals than using a pesticide spray.
If you want to go the whole hog and get a heavy-duty bug spray then I recommend bug clear ultra, made by the same people as the spray above but this is the full pesticide version.
Kills all major insect pests, including whitefly, greenfly, black fly, red spider mite, caterpillars and lily beetle, scale insects and mealy bugs For use on flowers, fruit and vegetables.
Where Do Lupin Aphids Come From?
Some aphids will live on the plants all year long. A few tough bugs will overwinter on your lupins before repopulating in spring.
This means that cutting the foliage back in winter and disposing of it can help kill off colonies before they have a chance to even start.
You can check the bottom of your lupins for aphids and squash any you see over winter, stopping them in their tracks.
This won’t mean you won’t face an infestation though as I mentioned earlier you do get aphids coming over from other infected aphids.