Black Bean Aphid on Runner Beans

Last night as I hauled another watering can out to the plot I discovered an infestation of blackfly or black bean aphid on my Scarlett Emperor runner beans. The beans have been romping away over the last few days and have shot up the bean poles.

black bean aphid
Black bean aphid on runner beans

I didn't notice the black bean aphids yesterday but maybe I wasn't paying close enough attention. At the very least I don't think they've been there long and I'm hoping that dealing with them promptly will give me the upper hand.

It was a disheartening evening all round. The day had been too hot to get much done outside and I was quietly doing my rounds watering when I decided to pick my first Cambridge strawberry of the season. Only as I bit into it I found that there were two woodlice already inside it. Yuk.

I used a solution of washing up liquid when I had a similar black aphid infestation on my chillies a couple of years ago but I think it burned the leaves as they turned yellow afterwards. The plant survived and went onto produce an average chilli crop but I didn't want to use anything as harsh as washing up liquid again.

Blasting black bean aphids with water

First I tried blasting the black bean aphids off with a spray bottle of tap water. The blast didn't have much force but I wasn't really expecting it to as it's the bottle I use to water tender seedlings with.
My next option was to squish all of the aphids between my fingers. The infestation snaked around the main stem of the beans and was thick on the underside of the lower leaves, it seemed an awful lot to squash by hand. I did spot a lady bird feasting on the aphids but it was probably optimistic to think she'd eat them all.
I returned to the beans the next morning to begin the squishing. It wasn't very pleasant but didn't take as long as I thought it would. After the squishing the aphids I ran a paint brush along the stems to dust away the debris. I may need to do it again but I'm pleased to say they're looking much clearer now.