Aphids, otherwise called greenfly, plant louse, or ant cow, are soft-bodied, sap-sucking insects that use their piercing mouthparts to suck the juices out of plants. By living on crops, they can destroy the leaves, making harvest sparse. Below are some of the most effective ways to get rid of these insect pests without using chemicals.
1. Use the Hose
Believe it or not, one way to keep aphids away from your garden is to use the hose. Select the hard jet-setting and spray away at your leaves. Of course, it is important to make sure you don’t damage the plant in the process. A nice, hard rain will help too.
Neem trees excrete an oil that is similar to vegetable oil. In it are organic compounds that can help to naturally kill off aphids. It has other benefits like doing away with fungus.
All you need to do is combine the oil with a tablespoon of Castile soap, water, and put into a spray bottle.
Another option is to boil the leaves (green or dry) until the water changes color. Let it sit overnight, then strain out the particles and add to your spray bottle.
3. Essential Oils
Essential oils have many different jobs. One of those jobs is to get rid of aphids in the garden. By mixing rosemary, thyme, peppermint and clove oils in a water bottle with a spray, it can help to naturally rid of aphids. Not only does it kill the bugs, but can help by killing the eggs, too.
4. Soap and Water
Using soap and water is another trick to keeping aphids away from your garden. Aphids have a waxy-like substance on their back, and when mixed with soapy, hot water, it will dissolve.
The bugs become dehydrated and they will die off. This method can also kill bugs that are beneficial, so be careful to not apply too much.
Look for natural premixed soaps like Dr. Bronner’s that will help to repel aphids while also protecting the garden’s crops.
5. Plant Other Plants
There are other plants you can have in your yard that will attract aphids. This will keep them happy while also keeping your crops happy. Some of those plants are cosmos, hollyhocks, verbena, and zinnias. If aphids are happily eating elsewhere, they will hopefully leave your important crops alone.
6. Encourage Birds to Come Around
By putting out bird food in a feeder, you can attract birds that will help to naturally control aphids in the garden. Also consider putting up some birdhouses to attract birds like titmice, herons, wrens, and others that will eat the bugs.
7. Aluminum Foil
By putting aluminum foil or reflective mulch on the ground underneath your plants, this can deter aphids. This will be more effective in your vegetable garden.
Try to avoid using it with your flowers as it can be harmful to them. Just remember to pick up the foil when the gardening season is over to protect the environment.
8. Remove Aphids Yourself
If you only notice minimal infestation, you can remove the bugs that you see. In this case, it is important to take time out in your garden and identify which bugs need to be removed from the plants. If you drop them into a tub of soapy water, they will die without you having to squish them.
9. Don’t Forget to Squish the Eggs
Don’t just get rid of the bugs themselves, but also make sure to get rid of the eggs. You can remove them from the leaves, squish them, or make sure to use the natural insecticide.
Destroying the eggs will help keep your crops safe from harm. While the eggs are not an immediate threat, as soon as they hatch, the new bugs can wreak havoc on your plants.
10. Epsom Salt
Add Epsom salt to the soap and water mixture in a spray bottle. By spraying the mixture onto the plant, you can get rid of harmful aphids. It is best to use it on the bottom of the leaves in the early evening.
After the night has passed, rinse off the top of the leaves with the garden hose so they don’t get burnt by the sun. It can also help to remove black fungus on plants.
11. Homemade Garlic Sprays
A garlic spray can help to rid of aphids in the garden. All you’ll need is some mineral oil and fresh garlic. Chop the fresh garlic cloves and let them sit in the mineral oil. After taking out the solid garlic pieces, add it to water.
Add a little bit of organic dish soap and spray it on your plants. This will help to encourage the aphids to go away while also protecting the plants.
12. Pay Close Attention to the Ants
Ants are sometimes the culprit for protecting the aphids. If you notice a large population of ants in your garden, you might want to consider focusing on getting rid of them. If there are no ants to protect the aphids, there will be fewer aphids to deal with.
13. Attract Insects and Bugs That Feed On Aphids
There are bugs and insects that feed on aphids. However, it is important to know the ones that are beneficial from those that can damage your field. Read this article to find out how to attract beneficial insects and bugs to your garden.
You can also talk to the professionals at your nearest garden center. They can give you advice on which plants might be less affected by aphids in your particular climate. This might limit the variety of plants you can have in your garden, but these guys can help you make good decisions about what to plant.