How to get rid of aphids naturally
Aphids are easy to detect and just as easy to control with a few simple measures.
These small, soft-bodied insects are about the size of a grain of rice. They range in color from light green to red, although the most common aphid is black-bodied with a white, wooly coating.
Aphids survive by sucking the juices of soft and fleshy new growth. This damages the plant’s ability to properly process food.
You can usually find these pests by checking newly formed leaves and buds. Deformed yellow leaves with a greyish cast are a sure signs of their presence and when you turn over the damaged leaf you are likely to see a small cluster of aphids.
The first step to controlling aphids is to inspect new plant growth in early spring and if you find them take quick action to get rid of them.
There are a number of natural remedies to choose from such as simply spraying them off with a steady stream of water or introducing enemy insects to prey on them. For more serious infestation a number of natural insectides made from plant extracts are available from garden nurseries.
Rub off by hand
If the area of infestation is limited to a small area simply rub the infested leaf or stem between your thumb and forefinger taking particular care not to damage the plant’s leaf. This easily removes and destroys the aphids.
Use natural enemies
Encourage aphid’s natural predators into the garden by avoiding the use of chemical sprays. Such predators include ladybirds and lacewings along with many other beneficial insects which love to feed on them.
Mix together an insecticidal soap with some warm water. Pour the soapy mixture into a convenient spray bottle and use to rinse away unwanted aphid populations. Insecticidal soap can be purchased at nurseries and garden centers.
Spray with dormant oil
Found at most nurseries and garden centers, dormant oil or winter oil should be applied in spring just before the plant buds swell with new growth.
Aphids are drawn to the color yellow. To entice aphids away from your plants, place out in the garden a yellow bowl full of soapy water, or purchase a sticky colored trap which are available at most garden nurseries.
Pyrethrum is a natural insecticide made from the ground flowers of a species of Chrysanthemum. Rotenone is another insecticide made from plants and is considered highly effective against aphids. Both of these are available at garden centers and nurseries. Make sure you follow the directions for use carefully.
Control ant populations
Controlling ant populations in your garden may help control your aphid infestations. Ants feed on honeydew, a sweet substance the aphids excrete. If you find ants rounding up aphids in your garden, put out ant traps. These are available at garden centers and hardware stores. You should also destroy any anthills you find.