Here is how to get rid of aphids indoors and outdoors, using natural and chemical control methods.
Aphids are not just one of the many insect pests that affect agricultural production on the farm, they are extremely destructive.
These pests are more than some tiny little insects living off your vegetation; they are deadlier than they might appear. It is almost impossible to see an aphid with your naked eyes because an average adult is not more than one-quarter inch.
Their body resembles the shape of a pear and they have long antennae.
Are Aphids Harmful?
Their havoc begins with the fact that they take over your garden in a matter of hours. This is because the vegetable lice (aphids) have a feature called parthenogenesis – meaning, they can reproduce without mating.
And one single aphid can reproduce up to six hundred billion offsprings in one season.
Best Ways To Get Rid Of Aphids
An infestation of aphid on your farm can cause severe damage to crops within a short period. What they do is suck sap from plants, and in doing this; they release a chemical substance that causes the discoloration of green leaves.
Aphids are the cause of stunted growth in some plants.
To aggravate matters, the chemical substance produced is called honeydew – a sticky substance that attracts ants. Since ants feed on the honeydew, they become their shepherd. They now take up the responsibility of keeping the aphids alive and guarding them into colonies, so that the insects can produce enough honeydew.
This way, an aphid infestation can get out of hand in a short space of time.
There are several ways of controlling this invasive pest. But the most effective control is ensuring that they never got on your garden- Prevention.
How To Prevent Aphids
The fact that aphids are asexual and also reproduce very fast is enough reason to ensure they never get into your garden. There are various ways to keep aphid out of gardens using companion plants.
You can plant herbs or flowers that:
- attract common aphid predators
- that repel aphids naturally
- that aphids love most, as trap plants.
A perfect blend of mixed cropping will effectively deal with aphids, including a wide range of micro pests on farmland.
Plants like clover, dill, mint, and fennel, attract the natural predators of aphids while plants like Catnip, garlic, chives, allium, and onions will send aphids far away from your garden.
And if you need to trap the pest, just plant dahlias, mustards, nasturtium, and cosmos. Aphids can die for these sets of flowers, so they’ll immediately leave your vegetable to feed on them.
More importantly, always check your crops for any sign of aphids. Whenever you see one, blast it immediately with water or soapy water to avoid an infestation that can happen within a short period.
How To Get Rid Of Aphids Naturally
There are several ways to exterminate this pest organically.
While it is preferred that you choose a more physical or biological approach to eradicate the pest, if the infestation is out of hand, you should adopt the chemical approach to extermination.
Some practical methods to remove these pests from gardens include;
Using water to get rid of aphids from your garden is useful when the infestation is not as high. You need a garden hose and water. Once you attach a water source to the garden hose, spray water on the plants to blast off aphids.
However, you need to reduce the pressure of the hose when you spraying younger plants.
This method can only get rid of an early infestation. If infestation is already high, spraying water might not be that effective.
Killing Aphids With Soapy Water
To make a liquid soap spray, all you need is some tablespoons of liquid dish soap in a bowl of water – avoid detergents, degreasers, or moisturizers.
Stir the mixture properly and pour it into an empty spray bottle. Your spray is ready for use.
Spray the affected plants and ensure that all the sides of the leaves are soaked in soapy water, enough to get rid of the aphid eggs and larvae.
Applying Neem Essential Oil
Neem oil is very useful in exterminating a wide range of insect pests including aphids naturally.
The only disadvantage is that it can also get rid of beneficial insects like bees, butterflies, etc. this is why you need to be careful if you want to use this essential oil.
When spraying, ensure that the oil does not get to the petals of plants to avoid the mortality of beneficial plants.
You can purchase neem essential oil at any of your local store or garden shop.
Employing Natural Predators
Engaging natural predators is a biological approach to eliminating pests.
There are some birds and insects that feed on aphids and help control their infestation in your garden.
You can either plant flowers or herbs that attract these natural predators or you buy the predators at garden shops around your area.
Some organisms that predate on, thereby exterminating aphids completely include;
Lady Beetles And Green Lacewings
Even though the adult lady beetle or green lacewing is not as interested in aphids, their larvae are very much are. So don’t be disappointed when you discover that the lady beetle or the green lacewings you got is not as active as you expected it to be.
Here is how it works;
With a large infestation of aphids, it will be easy for each of these insects to have enough time to feed and mate. After mating, female lady beetle or green lacewing produce eggs that will mature to the larvae stage.
At the larval stage, lady beetle and lacewings eat a lot of aphids.
Birds like wrens and chickadees love eating aphids. So to keep such birds coming to your garden, plants some shrubs and small trees where they can build their nests.
If they live in your garden, it will be easy for them to access their favorite meal – aphids.
Beneficial nematodes get rid of aphids and a host of other pests that affect plants in the garden. They also get rid of aphids without harming beneficial organisms like earthworms.
Homemade Aphid Spray (DIY Approach)
Materials needed to make an aphid killer spray include;
- Peppermint oil
- Clove oil
- Rosemary oil
- Thyme oil
- Liquid dish soap
- Cooking oil (vegetable oil)
- Empty spray bottle
Note: The ingredients above will produce two different kinds 0f aphid sprays;
- Essential Oil Spray
- White Oil Spray
Essential Oil Procedures
Pour a cup of water into an empty spray bottle. Add at least five drops each of peppermint oil, clove oil, rosemary oil, and thyme oil, into the bottle of water. Shake properly and mix well. Your essential oil spray is ready for use.
Using White Oil Spray
Pour two cups of cooking oil into an empty spray bottle. Add a half cup of liquid dish soap. The solution will turn white, and then your white oil spray is ready to be used. Spray all over the leaves and roots of plants.
How To Kill Aphids With Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous Earth is an organic substance; it works by getting through the insect and destroying its exoskeleton. It is very effective in the extermination of aphids.
First, use your hose to spray water on plants. This is to ensure that the aphids are knocked off the plants. Ensure that you thoroughly apply water on the plants.
Next, apply the powdery DE on leaves while they are wet. You need to be generous with your application of the DE on leaves and at the base of plants.
But you have to be careful. Ensure that the Diatomaceous Earth does not get to the petals because it is also toxic to pollinators.
Systemic Insecticides For Aphids
Systemic insecticides work by making the plant toxic to pests. It is added to soil and digested by plants. Eventually, the plant becomes toxic to invading pests.
Imidacloprid is an effective systemic insecticide that will eradicate aphids very quickly and it is effective for as long as two years and more.
However, a disadvantage of Imidacloprid is that it can also get rid of beneficial insects like pollinators.
In other words, you don’t have to use this insecticide if the infestation can be treated with water, diatomaceous earth, homemade aphid spray or soapy water.
However, if you must use this insecticide, try not to apply it to the plants in bloom or before bloom.
How To Get Rid of Aphids On Roses
The infestation of aphids on roses can be terrible; this is because aphids love roses. This kind of love is very lethal because it destroys a rose plant in a short period.
If you spot one aphid on your rose plant, just assume you have an infestation. And if you confirm an infestation, you should subscribe to a natural approach to eradicate the pest.
Begin trimming your roses by cutting off the infected parts of the plants. Also, apply soapy water to suffocate the pests especially if they are found on rosebuds, below rosebuds, or under the leaves.
Avoid using methods that are harmful to beneficial insects.
More importantly, pay close attention to your rose plants and don’t stop applying your anti-aphid chemicals – whichever one you choose – until you are sure the last one is gone.
Aphids are plant bugs, they suck the life out of plants, and their infestation can cost a farmer a lot in monetary terms.
This is why you need to pay attention to your plants and take preventive measures against the prevalence of these pests.
Mixed cropping is the ideal way of getting rid of the pest. A right blend of crops will not only take care of aphids but will eradicate a wide range of pests, making you a happy gardener or farmer.