The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious of the rose. Khalil Gibran
I say – The gardener who can see beyond the greenfly is truly blessed.
but if you cant.. then it is time to attract some Ladybirds (Coccinellidae)
Some years ladybirds are around all summer, others a short sojourn; lifecycle duration varies upon weather patterns (temperature and humidity). They hibernate October to February, but often not visible in numbers until April. This month is their mating season and soon their numbers will swell.
Id: The ladybird perhaps most familiar is the 7-spot ladybird, the one from childhood books; 5 – 8mm long, red body with black polka dots. Yet there exists 15 different indigenous species with an array of patination and tonal variance; 14-spots, 18-spots, not all red and black either; The 22spot can be distinctively yellow. There is even a Cream-spot ladybird where the dots are off white not black.
Benefit: one of most active predators not just in quantity consumed but in their hunting practice of searching out prey from dawn to dusk. A single ladybird will consume between 50 to 60 aphids per day (5,000 in its lifetime). Both adults and larvae are predators and they also munch scale insects, mealy bugs, leaf hoppers, and various mites.
How to attract: If already in your locality or neighbouring gardens they will eventually find their way to yours. Tansy attracts but the trick is to make them stay; a welcome place to breed or overwinter – insect hotels or log piles and leaf mould. Their diet requires more than aphids so planting pollen bearers of Umbelliferae family such fennel, angelica and yarrow is good. Remember they lay eggs on nettles. Above all avoid chemical sprays, not only does it kill them upon contact but poisons their food supply.
In many culturies the ladybird is given common names associated with deities – such is the blessing she bestowes on the garden.