When aphids arrive at your garden, the place can go from a beautiful garden to a nightmare.
So, as soon as you see your plants wilting and dark from these annoying insects, you’ll want to find a way to eradicate them ASAP!
But how to get rid of aphids when you don’t want to cause damage? Well, you’re in for a treat!
We’ve battled aphids for years, so we know how to save your plants and let no aphids come back ever again. Want to know how we’ve done this? Check the article below!
What Are Aphids?
Before we go deep into details, let’s give you a heads-up about aphids.
What are they? Well, they’re insects. Specifically, they belong to the Aphididae family. Like most insects, they eat vegetation. And this vegetation is often the leaves and stems of plants.
What are they looking for? The nutrients in the plants. They don’t exactly eat the solid parts but the softest ones. You could say they prefer rich liquids over anything else.
How many types of aphids are there? You can find over 4,000 species in the wild. Luckily, only 250 of these species can be damaging. The rest are not as harmful, so they’re often ignored.
Are aphids easy to spot? It depends. Most of them are green. But you may also find black, brown, red, and pink aphids.
Overall, they’re like pretty much any other insect. But several aspects set them apart. Below, we explain these in-depth.
What Do Aphids Look Like?
An aphid boasts a pear-shaped body, long antennae, even longer legs, and various colors. We say various because aphids can be white, green, black, brown, pink, red, and sometimes colorless (almost transparent).
The color depends on what the aphid likes to eat. Apple aphids are green, while potato aphids are brown, for example. An aphid has six legs regardless of what type it is.
Most aphids are wingless, but a few of them are not. They have a slightly sticky or wooly appearance coming from a secretion they produce after eating.
While they are often small to be ignored when they’re alone, you will spot them right away when they’re eating, as they tend to be in groups and form visible marks in plants.
How to Spot Aphids on Plants
Already know how aphids look like? Then you need to learn what they leave behind. And it’s not offspring only, but a complete disaster. If you act too late, they may leave nothing!
That’s why it’s essential to spot the pest early on and get rid of it. Here are a few tips:
Check for Nymph Aphids
While adults can fly and often travel through different plants, nymphs or baby aphids can’t. They are usually lighter in color than their adults. You can spot them eating away stems, buds, flowers, and leaves, sometimes even roots. These are often easier to spot because they tend to stay in groups.
Find the Adult Aphids
They may have wings or not. The difference from nymphs would be their size and spread of the legs (adults look like grasshoppers while nymphs look like bedbugs). They also feed in large groups and reproduce the same way. However, they may often spread around flying.
Look for Damaged Leaves
Some plants are especially susceptible to aphid damage. They curl up, develop weird shapes, or achieve a pale-yellow color. You may spot aphids on the other side of the leaf when this happens.
Search for a Sticky Substance
When aphids feast on plants, they leave a sticky substance behind. This is a sugary liquid they produce as waste. Other insects, like ants, love the liquid. If you spot the liquid or the ants eating away something similar, you probably have aphids in the garden.
Spot Mildew Marks
The sticky substance often produces fungal infection. When this happens, the leaves will gear up a black to gray appearance.
Discover Deformed Parts
Some of the diseases that aphids produce can harm yields directly. This includes fruits and flowers that may grow completely distorted.
Notice Galls & Disease
Aphids also produce diseases. When this happens, there’s a chance it will also affect the roots, producing galls.
Suffice to say, removing aphids from plants becomes a thing you must do. Below, we’ll disclose the best ways to do that.
How to Get Rid of Aphids on Plants
Even though aphids are not the HARDEST of pests to get rid of, they’re still a bit tricky. Luckily, we know precisely how to get them off your plants and make sure they don’t come back. We’ve gathered seven methods that will help you with that:
1. Hose Them Down
Grab a hose, open the valve to a decently intense pressure that doesn’t harm your plants, and hose the aphids away.
As simple as that. A strong stream will bring the aphids down and kill most of them. In most cases, they will go away as soon as they feel threatened.
It is important to hose the entire plant, from the bottom of the central stalk to the smallest leaves. Rinse the underside of the leaves as well.
The focus is to remove every sign of aphid from the plants. Once you do that, the aphids won’t come back in the next two weeks, at least.
2. Slap Them Off
There’s no easier way to get rid of the aphids than putting on gloves and scratch them away from your plan. Slap the aphids off the leaves and stalks. They will fall out. If you can gather them and put them in a bowl or somewhere, pouring a bit of soap or chlorine over will kill them.
This should get rid of the aphids for at least a week. If you want the plant to look healthier afterward, clean up the leaves that look affected.
3. Soap Them Up
Some people swear by their home remedies. One of the best options is a soap insecticidal. As simple as it sounds, you need to use a bug control solution with little toxicity. Blend it up with a bit of water, a tablespoon of dish soap, and pour on a spray bottle. Mix the solution, and you’ll be ready.
Proceed to spray the solution over the aphids, and they should start dying. This process shouldn’t take more than a day or two to get rid of the aphids. More importantly, it will keep them away for several weeks, sometimes months.
4. Alcohol Them Away
Like using soap, you can also mix rubbing alcohol with water and make an aphid-repelling solution. This solution will remove most of the aphids when you spray them, as it burns their skin. After the first application, you will see aphids flying away. In two or three days, they should be free of pests.
It’s vital to only spray thin alcohol, mixing each cup with at least twice as much water. If you don’t thin out the alcohol, you may cause damage to the plant.
5. Spray Them Down
The best aphids home remedy does not contain alcohol or soap. It is made of oil. Essentials oils from herbs like clove, peppermint, thyme, and rosemary can be pretty effective.
If you don’t feel like using essential oils, you can also get some neem oil. It is another highly effective way to get rid of aphids and many other insects like caterpillars, beetles, worms, leafminers, and mealy bugs.
Either way, mix the oils with a bit of water and spray the liquid solution directly on the bugs. This should get rid of them within a couple of days.
6. Poison Them
Sometimes, homemade remedies for aphids just don’t work. The fix could be a chemical solution instead. In other words, an insecticide.
While pesticides are not always the best option, they are effective. You should use them, especially with plants that don’t depend on pollination, as pesticides can also repel butterflies and bees.
To use poison or pesticides, just follow the instructions on the package. Generally, you’ll have to mix and prepare before spraying them. Pesticides can work almost right away.
7. Scare Them Off
While aphids can eat practically any plant, they are immediately repelled by others. These plants scare them off a bit, causing them to get away from the garden with their presence.
What are these plants? Most of them are herbs:
It’s worth knowing that these plants are not 100% effective. But they can reduce the number of aphids exponentially
8. Let Other Bugs Eat Them
Believe it or not, aphids have a few archnemeses. Among them, you’ll find insects like ladybugs, parasitic wasps, and lacewings. Even birds will sit on your plants stems just to get closer to the aphids and eat them away in some cases.
But bringing these insects and animals to your garden is not easy. That’s why you must know which ones are worth using. These include:
All these plants will bring the insects you need to eat the aphids. To boost the process, you can always buy the insects directly, get some of their eggs, spray the plant with mists to attract them, and ensure the plants receive consistent sun exposure. This should bring more good bugs.
How to Prevent Aphids from Coming Back
Let’s say you put some of our aphids treatment options above into work. Now what?
Well, it’s time to make sure they don’t come back. There are several methods for that. Here are the most common:
Use Diatomaceous Earth
Sounds weird and it’s hard to pronounce, but diatomaceous earth is a high-quality bug repellent. It will keep the aphids away thanks to the unique soil chemical properties.
Most people don’t know this, but kitchen flour is also highly effective at keeping aphids away. Dusting the plants with flour will prevent the aphids from eating them away. If it rains, you’ll have to reapply, though.
Use Dormant Oil
This pesticide oil is one of the most effective ways to keep aphids off your plants for long. The oil acts directly on the aphids as well as the eggs. It stays for long on the plant without causing damage.
Use Companion Planting
Once again, you can use plants like onions, garlic, oregano, parsley, and many others to repel them. The strong scents, once you’ve used another remedy, will prevent them from coming back.
Simultaneously, using plants like cosmos, nasturtium, calendulas, mustard, asters, and zinnias can trap the aphids. This will help you keep the plants you care the most about safe.
Aphids won’t go away unless you make them do so. Sounds obvious, but most people don’t like to put in the work.
Don’t be one of them. After learning how to get rid of aphids with our methods above, we hope you get to work and remove those aphids from your garden.
Use the tactic that best matches your needs at the moment, and you’ll see results sooner than you think. Don’t wait for your plants to die – save them right now!