Aphids are a major problem for flower and vegetable gardeners alike. These tiny pests will piercing the stems of new plant growth and suck out the fluid that the plant needs to survive and can sometimes even infect the plant as it feeds. These infections can often be lethal and can have serious negative impacts on your garden. There are, however, natural ways to help prevent aphid attacks that do not resort of harsh chemicals and ten of them are discussed below.
Removal by Hand
For a very minor infestation, it may be possible to remove the aphids by pinching or brushing them off; if it is just one or two stalks that are infected, it is also helpful to remove those stalks and drop them in a bucket of soap water.
It may also be possible to spray the aphids off by using the water pressure from a gardening hose. This is not recommended for young and fragile plants, but can work on older, more established ones.
In a spray bottle, mix regular household soap into the water and apply the mix to the infected plants. This will kill the insects without harming the plant or contaminating the soil.
Dilute this oil in a spray bottle full of water and apply to the plant; this will not kill the aphids but will repel them, along with other insects like mealy bugs, ants, beetles and caterpillars.
If you take a spray bottle full of water and add a mixture of thyme, clove, rosemary and peppermint oils, you can apply this to your plants to kill off the aphids as well as their eggs and larvae but without harming the plant itself.
This is specially designed soap to help kill off unwanted pests in your garden, but before you use it, read the label carefully so that you know what you are doing and do not accidentally kill off insects that you want to keep!
It is possible to rid yourself of aphids by introducing a natural predator into your garden – the ladybug. Ladybugs prey upon aphids to control the population naturally and can be purchased at many gardening centers.
If you encourage birds such as titmice, chickadees and wrens to roost in and around your garden, this will help the problem because, like ladybugs, these birds are voracious aphid-eaters and will help keep the population down.
Control the Ants
Ants, too, prey upon aphids and will often protect them the way humans protect cows or chicken. If you can remove the ants (such as with small containers of honey), the ladybugs and birds will control the population more easily.
Aphids do not like the smell of members of the allium family like garlic and onions, so plant them around your garden to discourage aphids from settling there in the first place.
So if aphids are a problem, put down those harsh pesticides and try out some of these natural ways to get rid of one of gardening’s top pests. Not only can it save you money, but the kinder, gentler methods safer for your and your plants as well.