Aphids love to nibble on fruits, vegetables, flowers, and all kinds of other plants, which can completely spoil the look of your garden. These small, pear-shaped insects land on the leaf-shaded side. They can have many different colors. To get rid of these pests, attract beneficial insects like ladybugs to your garden or try to reduce the ant population. There are also many sprays that contain ingredients ranging from oil to garlic to kill aphids. If you are looking for a quick fix, try directing a strong stream of water on the pests or sprinkling the infested plants with flour.
Method 1 of 3: Use household products
Step 1. Spray the infested plants
Use a garden hose to send a powerful spray of cold water to plants where aphids are found. The spray should knock off the bugs. A heavy downpour can also have this effect.
- It takes some pressure, but be careful not to damage the plants with too strong a spray.
- Repeat the process as needed to kill aphids as soon as you see them.
Step 2. Remove the insects by hand
If you see a cluster of them on a plant, you can simply wipe the leaves with your hand to remove the aphids. Immediately put them in a bucket of soapy water to kill them.
- If the pests have infested an entire leaf or stem, cut off the affected part with scissors or pruning shears and place it in the bucket of soapy water.
- Wear gloves to protect your hands.
Step 3. Apply flour
Sprinkle it on the plants to control an aphid invasion. Fill a glass with normal white flour and take it to the garden. Use your hands to sprinkle the powder on the infested plants, applying a thin, even layer.
- It is not necessary to completely cover the plants with flour. Just put it on the parts where there are aphids.
- When the insects ingest the flour, they will become constipated.
Step 4. Use a soapy solution
Pour a few drops of mild dish soap into a glass of water. Dip a cloth or paper towel in the mixture and gently wipe the stems and leaves of plants infested with aphids.
Be sure to wipe both sides of each sheet
Method 2 of 3: Use predators and traps
Step 1. Attract beneficial insects
Take advantage of species that feed on aphids. Grow plants like mint, dill, or clover to attract ladybugs and lacewings to your garden. Since these insects eat aphids, this will help reduce the number of these pests on your plants.
If you want, you can even buy ladybugs or lacewings and release them into your garden
Step 2. Bring in birds
Species like wren and chickadees eat aphids. Encourage them to live in or around your garden by planting shrubs with dense foliage and / or small trees ideal for building nests. You can also set up a bird feeder to attract birds.
If you cannot plant trees or shrubs, set up small nesting boxes that the birds can live in
Step 3. Eliminate the ants
Aphids and ants take advantage of each other, as aphids provide food for ants. If you see a colony or large numbers of ants near aphid infested plants, try removing them using duct tape wrapped around a tree or other suitable type of trap.
- These two species live in symbiosis: ants protect aphids from predators, and aphids produce a sweet liquid that ants eat.
- You can also use vinegar, lemon juice, or cinnamon to keep ants from getting too close to your plants.
Step 4. Set sticky traps
These yellow traps have a sticky surface that holds back aphids that touch them. Hang some from branches or position them next to your plants. You can buy them at a home improvement store, garden center, or online.
Step 5. Attract aphids elsewhere
Use plants that attract them to prevent them from infesting others. Choose varieties that these insects love, such as aster or cosmos, and plant them away from the specimens you want to protect. They will attract aphids, which will not attack plants they like less.
- These insects also like dahlias, zinnias and delphiniums. You can plant them and sacrifice them to protect your other plants. Do not get too attached to these flowers, as they are likely to be ravaged by aphids.
- If you do nothing to control the presence of aphids, their populations will increase and they will eventually infest other plants. Even if you lure them elsewhere with a few flowers, you will need to take steps to control their numbers.
- The distance between bait plants and those to be protected depends on each particular strain and the room it needs to grow. Start with a distance of at least 60 cm.
Method 3 of 3: Use sprays
Step 1. Apply essential oils
Combine essential oil of peppermint, rosemary, thyme and cloves in a bowl. Use four or five drops of each. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and top up with water. Shake the container to combine all the ingredients. Spray the liquid on plants attacked by aphids.
Reserve a vaporizer with essential oils. These tend to penetrate and scent the plastic, which is then no longer suitable for other uses
Step 2. Make a garlic spray
Chop three or four cloves and mix them with two teaspoons of mineral oil. Let the mixture sit for 24 hours then filter it to remove the pieces of garlic. Pour the liquid into a spray bottle containing 500 ml of water and a teaspoon of dish soap. Shake the container and spray the solution on the infested plants.
You can also prepare and use a natural insecticide to treat plants
Step 3. Use neem oil
Apply it to infested plants. Mix it with a little water to get an organic solution that repels aphids. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and spray it on the parts where you see aphids.
- You can buy neem oil at a garden center, some big box stores, or online. Its smell will persist in the container you use for a long time. It is advisable to reserve a vaporizer for this purpose.
- You can also use horticultural oil for this method.
Step 4. Apply insecticidal soap
You can buy them at a garden center or online. Read the directions in the product directions for how much to use. Mix it with water in the proportions indicated and spray the solution on your plants to kill aphids.
- These soaps are formulated to kill aphids.
- Insecticidal soaps are less toxic than chemical insecticides to mammals (whether animals or humans). Nevertheless, take the safety measures and wear the protective articles recommended in the instructions for use of the product.
- Check your plants regularly for aphids. Infestations start out slowly and are much easier to control early on than later.
- Combine several methods for best results. Attract natural predators, keep ants away and apply some oils or sprays.
- It is easier to control pests like aphids before an infestation than when the plants are completely infested. It takes time, patience, and many different methods to eliminate a large infestation.
- Chemical pesticides should only be used as a last resort to kill aphids, as these insects can easily be removed with other means.
- Do not apply insecticide treatments when it is hottest and there is the most sun, as they can burn the plants. Apply them in the evening or early in the morning when it is cooler.
- Some plants do not tolerate oil sprays or other products well. Find out if an infested plant tolerates different insecticidal sprays and soaps before treating it.