When many of us hear the term “insect control,” we think of dangerous, unpleasant-smelling chemicals that can hurt plants, animals, and people. And while yes, you can employ these to get rid of your garden of aphids, there are some natural, much less problematic ways to care for your plants and garden.
If you’re not sure which method is best for you, consider reading the steps for each option to decide which is reasonable and most appropriate for your situation.
What Are Aphids?
Aphids are small insects with soft bodies that feed on your garden plants. In small numbers, they probably won’t do much damage, but more often than not, they come in large numbers. When they do, they’re guilty of weakening plants, killing flowers, and destroying fruit.
They multiple quickly, too, so once you spot them, you’ve got to act fast to keep them from causing a full invasion of your garden.
What You Need for Getting Rid of Aphids
Depending on which method you choose to employ, you may need any of the following items to get rid of aphids from your plants. See supplies needed for each method offered to determine which is best for you.
Apart from the strictly natural methods (water, hand-picking, pruning), test your homemade sprays on a small part of the plant in the morning and watch it for a few days. This can help prevent causing damage to more sensitive plants.
Method 1: Water
The most natural way to get rid of aphids on your plants is simple. Grab your garden hose and start spraying. Clear away the aphids with a steady stream of water. Ideally, do this early in the season before there’s a full-on infestation in your garden.
Note: This isn’t a great method for younger or more delicate plants as the blasts of water may harm them.
Method 2: Hand-Picking
The next most natural method is using your hands. Put on some garden gloves and knocks the aphids on the stems, flowers, leaves, etc., into a bucket of sudsy water. The water and soap combo will kill them.
Method 3: Pruning
If you prefer – and don’t have a full-on infestation yet – you can simply prune away the affected areas.
Method 4: Neem Oil
Neem oil is an organic option that works as a natural repellent for insects, including aphids. You can spray the plants with a neem oil spray or dilution.
Be aware, however, that this method may also chase off the beneficial insects from your garden.
Method 5: Ladybugs and Green Lacewings
Aphids have natural predators in the insect kingdom, like ladybugs and green lacewing larvae. You can purchase the eggs for both species to release into your garden for the best results.
Method 6: Bird Sanctuary
Aphids also make a tasty snack for our fine-feathered friends. So, if you’re game, you can turn your garden into a bird sanctuary. The birds will come and find a smorgasbord of aphid crunchies and naturally help you get rid of them for you.
Method 7: Soap and Water
You can make your aphid spray using soap and water. Mix a few tablespoons of castile soap into a 2-gallon bucket. Fill your spray bottle and go to town on those plants! Spray directly onto the aphids for best results – as the more potent the soap is, the more quickly the aphids die.
This method doesn’t harm birds or your plants.
Method 8: Essential Oils
You can also create your own essential oil aphid spray. Use 5 drops of each following in a small spray bottle filled with water: peppermint, rosemary, thyme, and clove. Cap and shake thoroughly, then spray onto adult aphids, eggs, and larvae.
Method 9: Rubbing Alcohol
You can also use isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) dilution to kill off aphids. Be sure to find ethanol (grain alcohol) if at all possible or alcohol that doesn’t contain any additives.
Mix 5 cups of water and 2 cups of 70% alcohol with 1 tablespoon of castile soap into a spray bottle. Spray directly on the aphid adults, larvae, eggs, and affected areas of plants for best results.
To Sum Up
Insect infiltration can be dangerous for your garden, but thankfully, you can apply some safe methods to kill them off and keep your plants safe. Try any of the methods above that suit your capabilities and level of care for your garden.
Pay attention to the cautions, and always test the solution on a small area of the garden before fully committing to something like neem oil or rubbing alcohol solutions.