Does anyone have some suggestions about getting rid of these aphids without detering butterflies. We have been putting in a large butterfly garden. I’ve seen many praying mantis, but apparently not enough! We tried the garlic/onion water, but they didn’t appear to care.

Concerning the aphids. Look for ants. Ants are like dairy ranchers and the aphids are thier cows. Aphid pooh is about 90% sugar and the ants harvest it. In fact they will transport aphid from one plant to another and protect them from predators fiercely. So look and see if you have and ant problem and if so deal with the ants and your aphid problem will disapeaer as well. If there are no ants mix up a solution in equal amounts of ginger and black pepper. Put it on the leaves only it makes the plants unpalaateable to the aphids while not disturbing the butterflies who are going for the blooms. If you have ants then add some cyanne and chilli powder to the recipe above and pour around the base of the plants and the ants will beat a hasty retreat.Now since your in Kentucky you could introduce some garden predators like frogs and toads and lizzards and they will reduce your ant population as well and then there is also those Lady Bugs they love aphid to munch on as well.

I would try making a bubbly mix from an organic dish soap and smother them with the suds. This wont harm the plants or larger bugs. Also you could buy some caterpillars that eat aphids. They have them at a store I went to in NY once. Good luck (though they may grow up to be moths lol).

Have you tried ladybugs?

How do you try to get more ladybugs in your garden?

By having aphids to attract them :) You can either wait for ladybugs, as usually where there is a good food supply, the predator will follow. An alternative is to buy ladybugs for use right away if the aphids are destroying your plants too rapidly. I’ve never needed to buy them myself, as I try to let everything balance out naturally and the ladybugs have always come to my rescue, but buying them will speed up the process. I’m sure someone here can tell you more as the old pros from the garden center always told me the secret is to release the ladybugs at the base of the plant so they will eat their way up. If you just scatter them on the leaves, you’ll probably lose quite a few before they eat the aphids. Good luck!