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Aphids on chives

EVERY year my chives are attacked by tiny black insects that look like aphids. I hose them off, but eventually I lose the chives. As I hose them off, masses of another small white insect float along with the water. These look the same as the tiny white insects I find in the compost heap. How can I save my chives?


CHIVES are sometimes plagued by black aphids, especially if grown in a warm, sunny spot in soil that may dry out. If you plant them in a relatively cool, moist place, the aphids should be less of a problem. Some gardeners use a soapy solution consisting of a teaspoonful of dishwashing liquid in half a bucket of water poured on to the chives to wash them off. The detergent also dissolves the insect's cuticle and kills a lot of them off, so they are slower to make a comeback. It doesn't affect the taste of the chives.

Nature's Way Insect Spray has a similar effect and is safe to use on herbs and plants that are harvested regularly.

The tiny white insects are probably springtails or one of the many other beneficial insects that feed on decomposing organic matter, both in the soil and in compost heaps.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 192, 2005, Page 31

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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