Aphids cannot always be avoided on plants. This also applies to plants that are intended as food for your rabbits.
But are the insects harmful to pets or can you feed the greenery without hesitation?
Here you will learn the amazing answer!
For the plant, the pests pose a danger. The insects suck the plant sap and feed on it. As a result, the infested plant is weakened and may even die.
Even if this is not the case, herbs and co. can be affected by the aphids.
For example, they then form no buds or fewer buds and thus produce no fruit.
In addition, they are covered with a sticky film that the aphids secrete. Ants feed on this and milk the aphids for it. So if you find aphids on the plants, ants are not far away.
This creates several problems.
While aphids are not directly dangerous to rabbits, ants can bite them.
Since the rabbits come in contact with the insects while eating, they can experience the painful bites directly on the oral mucosa or else the nose.
In addition, the aphids excrete large amounts of honeydew. This is highly sugary and very sticky.
It can stick to the fur and have a negative effect on the rabbit’s diet. It also attracts other insects.
Accidentally ingested aphids in small amounts are not problematic for rabbits. Other attracted insects and larger quantities, however, can be a hazard and even cause injury.
Do rabbits eat insects?
Rabbits – as you know with certainty – are herbivores and do not eat meat.
However, they may inadvertently ingest insects. For example, if they are sitting on greens, twigs, or fruits and vegetables, your pets will occasionally swallow a shopper.
As long as these are small insects, the risk for problems is low. The situation is different with:
larger bugs or insects
defensive insects that bite or sting
poisonous or blood-sucking variants
They can transmit diseases, in the case of allergic or very sensitive animals, shock conditions can occur that are life-threatening and infections are possible.
Aphids in and of themselves, then, represent a lesser evil.
Nevertheless, they should be taken seriously and avoided.
Fighting aphids naturally
If you cultivate food plants in your own garden, the prevention and control of aphids is very simple.
For this purpose, use ladybugs, which can be purchased in specialized stores and even online. They eat aphids and are therefore beneficial insects.
They do not harm the plant itself. Once there are no more aphids in your garden, the ladybugs will look for new food sources. Except for the application you have no effort with this variant. If necessary, you will have to apply ladybugs again if there is a new infestation.
A natural garden with a great diversity of plants and animals is also a good prerequisite for maintaining the natural balance and attracting beneficial insects.
Home remedies against aphids
A simple home remedy against aphids can be applied quickly and is as harmless to your rabbits as it is to the environment. All you need is fresh whole milk, water and a spray bottle.
Mix one part milk with two parts water and spray the aphid-infested plant parts thoroughly.
After a contact time of ten to 30 minutes, the mixture can be rinsed off with clear water. Enzymes from the milk combat the aphids and their residues. If necessary, the measure must still be repeated until all pests are removed.
If you have already cut off the green fodder, spraying or soaking and rinsing is even easier. However, in any case, use fresh whole milk, because only it contains the substances that are responsible for the control.
Let the food dry before feeding or dab it dry. In doing so, you can scrape off any individual lice that may still be present. If you do not want to do this with your fingernail, use the back of a knife.
If you have food plants growing in your garden or even a small rabbit garden, there are a few things you can do to prevent aphid infestation from happening in the first place. This includes, for example:
- Paying attention to the location: Weakened plants are especially susceptible to pests. Plants may be weakened if they are in the wrong location. So when sowing or planting, make sure that you meet the requirements of the plant. This will at the same time reduce the amount of care required.
- Perform soil analysis: Soil that is particularly rich in nitrogen or deficient also weakens plants. By analyzing the soil, you can prevent this and use appropriate fertilizers or change the substrate.
- Create mixed cultures: Aphids prefer monocultures and spread quickly in them. Mixed cultures are therefore more suitable. It is best to place plants that have a deterrent effect on pests between the forage plants. These include savory, sage, lavender, mint, tomatoes, basil, rosemary, oregano and thyme. You can enrich your own herb garden with these while you’re at it.
- Conduct regular inspections: An infestation of aphids is easier to control when there are only a few of the pests on the plant. Therefore, the sooner the problem is detected, the easier and quicker it will be to solve. Check the tops and bottoms of the leaves and the stems at least once a week. If only individual aphids are found on them, they can still be picked off without much effort.
- Alternatively, you can grow tender and thus frequently infested plants in the apartment, on the balcony or terrace. This does not guarantee that a pest infestation will never occur, but the risk of it is much lower.
If you grow greens this way and avoid purely ornamental plants, you are also doing something for the environment.
By cultivating on the windowsill, you also have fresh green fodder at hand without a garden and even in winter.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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