Gardening is a lot of hard work and the last thing you want is for pesky critters to ruin your efforts. Aphids, which are tiny green bugs, can be a real pain. We’ll show you different ways to get rid of them and prevent them from coming back to your garden.
How to get rid of aphids: If you have aphids, you can blast them with strong jets of water from a hose. You can also use a mixture of dish soap and water or rubbing alcohol and water. To prevent aphids, create an environment that is friendly to beneficial insects such as ladybugs and lacewings.
What are aphids?
Aphids are small in size and are insects with soft bodies. They are quite tiny, about the size of a grain of rice.
With a pale green color, aphids can easily blend into most leaves. Furthermore, they often stick to the underside of leaves, making them hard to spot at first.
The problem with aphids is that they can multiply quickly and such a large number of insects need a large food source. If left alone, aphids can wreak havoc on your garden.
What attracts aphids?
Aphids enjoy a wide variety of plants. It’s almost impossible to plant a garden that doesn’t have at least one species of plant that attracts aphids.
In actuality, while aphids can weaken and destroy plants, their food source actually plants sap. They draw this sap from the plants through the leaves, stems, and roots.
If you suspect aphid damage, there are many signs to look for. This includes leaves that are curled up at the edges or leaves that have a yellow color to them.
You may also notice that the stems or leaves of a plant are sticky. This is actually waste from aphids, as they consume the plant sap. You may notice this sticky substance not only on your plant but even on the ground underneath plants and trees where there is an aphid infestation.
How to get rid of aphids
One of the easiest and most eco-friendly methods to get rid of aphids is by using a garden hose. The next time you are out watering put the garden hose on full blast and take aim at the infected plants.
These high-pressure jets of water can knock aphids off, killing them on impact. Those aphids that survive may be swept to the ground, and, as most aphids don’t have wings, they will be unable to find their way back to their plant sap source.
Another natural way to get rid of aphids is by using neem oil. Neem oil is a vegetable oil and is considered a natural pesticide, so it won’t cause damage to the surrounding ecosystem.
To use neem oil to its fullest potential, you need to ensure the aphids come into direct contact with it.
You may need to do a lot of grunt work by spreading the neem oil over infected areas of your plant. If you have a large infestation, this probably isn’t the most effective method of pest control.
Another easy way to tackle aphids is by using soapy water. Mix one cup of water with one teaspoon of mild dish soap. Combine it into a spray bottle.
You can go about spraying the leaves that have aphids and you can even spray un-affected leaves and areas of your plants to prevent the aphids from spreading.
This is a fun and safe activity for kids, so you can prepare a few spray bottles and include the whole family.
You should spray the area every two days for a total of two weeks for the best results. You can also add a pinch of cayenne pepper to your mixture if you want a more potent spray mixture.
Also known as rubbing alcohol, you can find isopropyl alcohol at any local drug store. This should be a version that doesn’t have any additives to it.
Mix one cup of water with one cup of rubbing alcohol and mix it together in a spray bottle. You can then spray the mixture on the affected parts of the plant or rub it into other parts that you want to save.
How to prevent aphids from coming back
One of the most natural and pretty ways to prevent aphids from taking over your plants is to use ladybugs. You can find ladybugs for sale online and most gardening stores will also carry them.
Other beneficial insects include lacewings and parasitic wasps. They will eat the aphids but won’t cause damage to your plants.
To help keep these positive insects happy in your garden, plant an array of flowers and make sure there are water sources available.
There are some types of plants that aphids really don’t like so if you plant them, you can deter aphids. Heavily scented plants, such as catnip can stop aphids from coming too close.
Another option is sacrificing one plant for another. For example, if you don’t want to lose your prize tomatoes to aphids, plant nasturtiums next to them.
Aphids love nasturtiums and will gobble the sap within first. Just be sure to keep the aphid population under control so they don’t spread to the plants you really care about.
Aphids multiply quickly and in just one summer you can have a few generations of aphids in your garden. The more on top of your plants you are, the happier you and your garden will be.
Any time you are out in the garden, do a quick check of your plants. Pay attention to the underside of leaves and check for any signs, such as curled leaves or yellow leaves.
Early prevention means you can salvage your plants and prevent aphids from spreading to other parts of your garden.
Aphids consume plant sap and are prolific breeders. To get rid of aphids, use a soapy water mixture, blast them with water, or use ladybugs as they will eat aphids.