My fava beans have experienced a pretty fierce attack from aphids this spring. While not desireable, aphids are not a scourge that demands you drop everything and counterattack them with pesticides or organic treatments.
First and foremost, aphids tend to concentrate in specific areas of your garden and on specific crops. The plants are pretty resilient to these sap sucking monsters and it is worth letting time play out to see how nature itself remedies the problem. If aphids attack a fruit tree or area of your vegetable garden, let them mass and natural predators will emerge.
We have honeybees on our property and I am very concerned about spraying anything on my plants, even organic treatments. Bees are exceptionally sensitive to smell, it is how they navigate their world and communicate with the colony, and anything you spray can have detrimental consequences for bees.
Aphids have a natural predator, ladybugs, which are abundant providing you give them a reason to take residence in your garden. They need food to eat and while there are hundreds of different species of ladybugs, most of them like aphids and mites. The more you have in your garden, the more ladybugs you will attract and retain.
While I am disappointed that aphids have massed on my bean plants, I am encouraged by the army of ladybugs that has emerged to dispatch of the threat. The fava beans have not been adversely effected and carry a healthy crop of beans, fat and ready to pick. It is imperative that gardeners don’t reflexively attack every threat with sprays and treatments when many parasites are little more than a visual blight. Left to itself, nature can and will resolve these imbalances; it’s all part of the lifecyle of the garden.