A swarm of aphids can turn all of your hard work in your garden or flower beds into an unsightly, droopy mess. Learn how to get rid of aphids with these easy tricks!
WHAT ARE APHIDS?
Aphids are small, hardy insects that can decimate the plants and herbs in your garden and flowerbeds. They ravenously feed on specific plants (depending on the type of aphid), but they can usually be found feeding on plant stalks and the underside of leaves. If they aren’t there, but your leaves and stalks look like they have a shiny covering to them, you have aphids.
Because of how small aphids are, you’ll have a hard time spotting them outside of getting up close and looking at the stalks and leaves so you’ll need to look for other, more recognizable tell tale signs. You’ll first want to look for sick plans with wilting or discolored leaves. Aphid activity weakens your plants and spreads disease which leads to your plants looking sickly and, eventually, dying. Tiny brown spots on the leaves (called galls) are another sign that aphids are feeding or laying eggs on your plants.
What do Aphids actually look like?
These usually wingless insects are small, pear shaped, and have long antennae and legs. They come in a variety of colors that include white, red, green, black, brown, and colorless so don’t fall into the mistake of looking for a single color.
HOW TO GET RID OF APHIDS
There are a number of ways to prevent and get rid of aphids from ravaging your plants, all of which can be organic and non-harmful to the environment.
Spray Plants With the Hose
Sometimes all you need to do is hit the aphids with a quick blast of cold water from your hose. We always recommend this as the first step because it’s free and easy! Just make sure that the plants you’re spraying can stand the jet setting of your hose nozzle. You don’t want to damage your plants more than the aphids already have.
Organic Aphid Spray
The fastest (and most active) way to get rid of aphids is to mix a homemade organic aphid spray. There are multiple types you can go with (soapy, garlic and onion, neem oil, etc.), but the simplest solution is the soapy mixture where you mix a mild detergent with water and directly spray the aphids every few days over the span of a week. After about a week, aphids will stop eating your plants and they can start recovering.
Attract (or Buy) Ladybugs
By planting ladybug friendly plants like Garaniums, Queen Ane’s Lace, and Parsely, your yard will quickly attract ladybugs, but if that doesn’t do the trick you can purchase them online or at a local nursery. Ladybugs are one of aphids’ natural predators and a single ladybug can eat between 50 – 60 aphids a day. However, you’ll want to pay close attention to the release instructions. You don’t want to buy 1,000+ ladybugs only to have many of them leave your lawn shortly after release or die because you used a pesticide a few days before.
Spread Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous Earth is the catch all for organic pesticides because of how incredibly effective it is regardless of the species. The jagged, yet finely powdered shells of diatoms will slice the bodies of insects that crawl over it causing them to dehydrate and die. Since it’s safe for plants, you can either line your flower beds or garden or you can sprinkle it over the plants themselves. Be sure to respread the powder if it rains to maintain its effectiveness.
If you have animals, you may want to go with flour instead. Spreading flour will cause aphids to become constipated and they won’t stick around.
Grow Natural Aphid Repellent
Aphids do not like pungent plants and the odors they emanate will passively repel these pests keeping them from harming your other plants. If you want to go this route, you’ll want to plant alliums like garlic and onions as well as pungent plants like sage, catnip, chives, and oregano. You can even just cut up an onion or two, crush some fresh garlic, and spread it around your garden if you are taken by a surprise infestation.
Aphids are a voracious pest that will ravage your lawn, garden, and flower beds if they’re able to set up camp in a colony. If you follow the simple tips above, you’ll be able to rid your property of aphids and protect your plants from future infestations. The most important thing is to stay vigilant so you can identify those signs early and correct them before too much damage is done.