Figuring out how to get rid of greenfly naturally can be a challenge. Otherwise called aphids, plant louse, or ant cow, greenflies are soft-bodied, sap-sucking insects that use their piercing mouthparts to suck the juices out of plants.
What do Aphids Look Like?
They come in different colors — red aphids, black aphids, yellow aphids, white aphids, green, gray, or even pink, depending on species. They have a soft and waxy pear-shaped body with long antennae.
What do Aphids Eat?
By living on crops, they can destroy the leaves, stems, fruits, or roots. They are herbivores that suck the juice out of these plant parts, making harvest sparse.
They target most fruit and vegetable crops and some flowering plants like roses and petunias. Of the crops in our backyard garden, we mostly see them on kale, corn, pak choy, and arugula.
How to Get Rid of Greenfly (Aphids) Naturally
Below are some of the most effective ways to get rid of these insect pests without using chemicals.
1. Hose Them
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.
2. Neem Oil
One of the best solutions on how to get rid of greenfly, neem trees excrete 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 1 tsp. of neem oil suitable for garden use with 1/2 tsp. of castile soap and 1 gallon of water. 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 get rid of greenfly.
Not only does it kill those small green bugs that fly, but can help by killing the eggs, too.
4. Soap and Water
Using plain 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. Natural and Safe Commercial Pesticides
Perhaps the easiest and quickest way of getting rid of green fly infestation is to invest in natural commercial pesticides such as these:
These pesticides keep away aphids. What’s more — they are OMRI listed, which means that they are safe for use in organic gardening.
6. Plant Other Plants
Companion planting is a clever option when thinking of how to get rid of greenflies.
There are other plants you can have in your yard that will attract them. 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.
7. 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, sparrows, chickadees, herons, wrens, and others that will eat the bugs.
8. 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.
9. Remove Aphids Manually
If you only notice a 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.
10. Squish the Eggs
Don’t just get rid of these bad bugs themselves, but also make sure to get rid of the eggs.
You can remove them from the leaves, squish them, or use a natural insecticide. Destroying the eggs will help keep your crops safe from harm.
While aphid eggs are not an immediate threat, as soon as they hatch, the new bugs can wreak havoc on your plants.
11. 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.
Epsom salt can also help to remove black fungus on plants.
12. Garlic Spray
A homemade 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 organic mineral oil. After taking out the solid garlic pieces, add it to water.
Add a little bit of organic liquid soap and spray it on your plants. This will help to encourage the greenflies to go away while also protecting the plants.
13. Pay Close Attention to the Ants
Aphids and ants are like best friends. Ants are sometimes the culprit for protecting them.
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.
14. Vinegar Solution
Vinegar is a natural household product that is commonly used to deter garden pests, including aphids. Pair it with an organic liquid soap like Dr. Bronner’s.
Combine one tablespoon of liquid soap with four tablespoons of vinegar in a gallon of water. Add to a spray bottle and coat affected plants.
15. Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Naturally mined from oceans and rivers, diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of small aquatic creatures. DE is toxic to greenflies — it will enter their system and dehydrate them.
Purchase a brand that is OMRI listed for safe use in organic gardening. Lightly dust the leaves of affected plants and reapply once there’s a heavy downpour of rain.
16. Onion Spray
Aphids hate the smell of onions. Puree one onion bulb in a cup of water. Strain and spray on affected plants. Use the measurement ratio as a guide for bigger concoctions.
17. 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.
Some of these predatory insects include ladybirds, lacewings, hoverfly larvae, aphid midge, and parasitic wasps.
You can also talk to the professionals at your nearest garden center on how to get rid of greenfly. They can give you advice on which plants might be less affected by greenfly 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.