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Dealing with aphids and geranium butterfly naturally

Aphids and the geranium butterfly are two of the most common problems that plague gardens and balconies. However, you can effectively combat them without resorting to harmful chemicals. Here’s how to use natural remedies to tackle these pests.

Treating aphids with non-chemical products

Aphids, belonging to the Sternorrhyncha suborder, are tiny insects that are visible to the naked eye and come in red, green, or black. They are typically found on the tips of shoots, leaves, buds, and flowers of various plants, preferring the veins of leaves. They suck the sap from buds and leaves, causing visible spots, deformities, leaf curling, bud death, and in severe cases, the death of the entire plant. The infestation varies based on the plant type:

  • houseplants and balcony plants: year-round
  • ornamental garden plants: April-August.

To eliminate these pests without using chemicals, two highly effective natural solutions can be used: Pyrethrum and Neem oil.


Neem Oil

Pyrethrum is a natural insecticide derived from the flowers of certain chrysanthemum species. It acts quickly on insects upon contact, paralyzing and killing them in a short time. It is available commercially under various names and formulations. Neem oil, extracted from the seeds of the Neem tree, is another highly effective natural remedy against aphids. This oil acts as a repellent and insecticide on contact, disrupting the hormonal system of insects and preventing them from feeding and reproducing.

How to use Pyrethrum

How to use Neem Oil

1 | Ensure to spray the entire infested area, as Pyrethrum works on contact

2 | Apply the treatment in the evening when temperatures are lower for better effectiveness

3 | Repeat the application every 7-10 days until aphids are completely eliminated.

1 | Dilute the Neem oil according to the manufacturer's instructions, typically in a concentration of 0.5-2%

2 | Spray generously on plants, covering all infested parts

3 | Repeat the treatment every 5-7 days, especially in cases of heavy infestation


Combating the geranium butterfly

Cacyreus marshalli, known as the geranium butterfly, is a moth that can cause severe damage to pelargoniums. Originating from Africa, it has spread rapidly in Europe due to the absence of natural predators. This insect can ruin a plant quickly if not addressed promptly. The adult butterfly has beige wings with white and brown patterns and lays small white or yellow eggs on the buds of pelargoniums, indicating an initial infestation. When the eggs hatch in summer, they release green larvae with two fuchsia-colored stripes. These larvae burrow into the stems of geraniums, feeding on the internal tissues, causing the plant to blacken and rot.

To combat this insect without using pesticides, Neem oil and Bacillus Thuringiensis can be used.

Neem Oil

Bacillus Thuringiensis

As with aphids, Neem oil is very effective against the geranium butterfly. Besides repelling insects, Neem oil disrupts the butterfly’s life cycle, preventing larvae from developing. Bacillus Thuringiensis is a natural bacterium that produces toxins lethal to lepidopterans, including the geranium butterfly. It is safe for plants, pets, and humans.

How to use Neem Oil

How to use Bacillus Thuringiensis

1 | Dilute the Neem oil according to the manufacturer's instructions, typically in a concentration of 0.5-2%

2 | Ensure to spray the plant thoroughly, including the underside of leaves

3 | Repeat the application weekly to maintain control over the pest

1 | Mix the product following the manufacturer's instructions

2 | Spray at dusk on infested plants, focusing on areas where larvae are present

3 | Gardeners recommend alternating the application of Bt with Neem oil, using each once a week


Using natural treatments to combat aphids and the pesky geranium butterfly is not only possible but also effective and safe for the environment. Protecting biodiversity is crucial, as insecticides eliminate not just specific pests but also many beneficial insects and other organisms. Pyrethrum and Neem oil provide excellent solutions for controlling aphids, while Neem oil and Bacillus Thuringiensis are ideal for battling the geranium butterfly.

Always follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully and repeat applications regularly for the best results.
Happy gardening!

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