Maintaining a healthy crop of vegetables or growing prized roses isn’t always an easy feat to accomplish with all of the gardening threats to overcome. Garden pests destroy leaves, flowers, and new growth by feasting on the vital plant parts and spreading disease. To protect your garden and other outdoor spaces, consider home remedies for aphids.
Table of Contents
- What is an Aphid?
- Signs of an Aphid Infestation
- Aphid Home Remedies
What is an Aphid?
An aphid (or plant louse) is a tiny insect that wreaks havoc on vegetation. Shaped like a pear with a typically green, soft body, most aphids measure a little under ¼ inch or 6 millimeters long . Some aphids are wingless, while others display two pairs of transparent or colored wings. The pests attack flowers, plants, vegetable gardens, and crops using a beak that they insert into the leaves, stems and roots of plants. They have a main objective to suck out the juices of plants.
There are nearly 4,000 different species of aphid in the world. For example, the most common aphid species to attack greenhouse crops include the melon/cotton aphid (Aphis gossypii), the chrysanthemum aphid (Macrosiphoniella sanborni), the rose aphid (Macrosiphum rosae), the potato aphid (Macrosiphum euphorbiae) and the highly difficult-to-control green peach aphid (Myzus persicae) . Oftentimes, aphids gather in large colonies.
Signs of an Aphid Infestation
Aphids are difficult to control because the females of many species don’t even have to mate in order to reproduce. It is not uncommon for aphids to create live young rather than lay eggs. This characteristic of the pest enables it to maintain ever-growing populations. Signs of an aphid infestation include:
• Honeydew or sooty mold on leaves
• Yellow spots on the surfaces of upper leaves
• Cast skins on leaves
• Leaves that curl
• Distorted new growth
Aphid Home Remedies
It is important to get ahead of aphids in your yard because an infestation can quickly spiral out of control. Using home remedies for aphids will allow you to not only protect the environment, but to also protect the bugs that are beneficial to your garden and flowers. A couple of organic aphid control measures include:
a) Banana Peels:
Mulch banana peels into the ground at the base of your plants to add strength and get rid of aphids.
b) Mineral Oil and Dish Soap:
Create a homemade remedy for aphid control by combining one cup vegetable or white mineral oil, 1 ½ cups water, and two teaspoons of dish soap (or Murphy’s soap). The mix will suffocate the aphids. Keep in mind that using this oil-based solution for plants situated in direct sunlight will cause plants to burn.
c) Attract Aphid Predators:
Call for reinforcements when battling aphids in your garden. Lacewings and ladybugs are just some of the predators that feast upon aphids. Attract your allies by planting mint, fennel, dill, yarrow, and clover in or by your garden.
d) Aphid Lures:
Some people with a heavy aphid infestation have lured aphids away from greenery they wish to protect by placing plants that attract aphids at a distance in their yard. Plants that act as an aphid lure include hollyhocks, verbena, dahlias, larkspur, tuberous begonias, nasturtiums, asters, mums, cosmos, and zinnias.
e) Garlic or Onion Plants:
Drive away aphids from infested plants by putting garlic or onion plants nearby. Aphids aren’t particularly fond of the scent and tend to flee.
f) Garden Hose:
A strong spray of water will knock off aphids attacking your plants. It is usually necessary to spray plants on a daily basis before seeing results.
g) White Piece of Paper:
To pinpoint an aphid problem, hold plants with fine foliage over a sheet of white paper and gently tap to dislodge any pests.
h) Frequent Checks:
It is important to catch an aphid infestation in its early stages, as just one pest can lead to up to 80 offspring in as little as one week. On a weekly basis, check the underside of leaves and before transplanting new plants into a garden, make sure the leaves are not harboring any unwanted pests.
i) Garlic and Vegetable Oil:
The pungent smell of garlic mixed with vegetable oil (such as canola oil) can drive away aphids. The slipperiness of the oil will prevent aphids from climbing on a plant and if the aphids are lucky enough to feed, their breathing tubes become clogged as the oil creates a suffocating experience.
You can also make a garlic oil spray prepared with 10 to 15 cloves of minced garlic, two teaspoons of mineral oil, one teaspoon of liquid dish soap, and 600 milliliters of water. Soak the garlic in mineral oil for 24 hours. Strain the garlic cloves and add the water and dish soap to the oil. Thoroughly mix ingredients in a container and spray plants with the solution to combat aphids.
j) Avoid Overfertilization:
The new growth of plants that have been overly fertilized will attract aphids. Use slow release fertilizers to prevent an aphid infestation. To increase the level of resistance against the pests, grow plants indoors or under a protective cover until they are large enough to tolerate aphids on their own.
k) Pruning Shears or Scissors:
Sometimes, you must spare certain sections of plants to control an aphid infestation. Save plants by using pruning shears or scissors to snip off or cut away heavy infestations.
 The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition; 2008
 Lindquist, Richard. 1991. A guide to aphid control. GrowerTalks. October. pg 75.