If your lupins are being attacked by aphids then you will want to know how to fight back, read on for some of my most effective tips.
How to kill aphids on lupins
There are lots of different ways to kill these giant aphids including squashing them with your hands, Sprays (both homemade and commercial), hosing them down, or introducing ladybirds – my favourite method!
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.
Hose Them Off
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.
Washing Up Liquid Spray
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.
And finally, we have my favourite method, introducing ladybirds to your garden or allotment. Ladybirds are natural aphid predators.
You can buy them in their larvae form and then introduce them to your garden where they will hunt and eat aphids.
There is one downside to this method with lupin aphids in that some people say they won’t eat lupin aphids as they are too big for them! I have not noticed this myself but it is something to be aware of!
These native British Adalia Bipunctata ladybird larvae have a huge appetite for soft -bodied garden pests such as aphids (greenfly and blackfly), spider mite, scale, mealy-bug etc.
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.