Natural Ways to Get Rid of Aphids on Plants

Figuring out how to get rid of aphids naturally can be frustrating sometimes. However, it remains a crucial part of your journey to be free from these troublesome pests.

These plant invaders can reproduce rapidly. You can expect aphids to generate several generations in one season only. 

Thus, once you notice these insects on your plants, the infestation may already be that bad.

Instead of using harmful chemicals, natural remedies and organic methods are much more recommended when dealing with aphids.

You can check out some tips to kill these pests naturally below. Furthermore, do not skip on the other information as they are equally important to keep aphids away.

Table of Contents

Where Do Aphids Come From?

You can find diverse species of aphids worldwide. They typically live in temperate areas or zones with a moderate climate. 

In this ideal condition, these pests can persist all year-round.

Outside their preferred climate, aphids will reproduce during the fall. The larvae or eggs will not hatch and turn into adults until spring comes.

As a result, a whole generation of aphids will be born during spring once the eggs hatch, resulting in a hasty infestation. 

Despite their slow moves, aphids can move from one plant to another. They may be born with wings too, so they can find a new host plant to feed on.

Once these pests found their plant host, they will lay eggs very fast and in huge numbers.  

Aphid species

Aphid species
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Over 4,000 species of aphids are present and around 250 of them are pests of ornamental plants and crops. 

Some types of aphids are classified based on their host plants. For instance, the corn root species are serious pests that attack corn roots after being transported by cornfield ants.

Once hatched, the aphids can cause stunting in the corn growth and make the plants turn wilt and yellow. Besides, these species also attack other grasses.

Meanwhile, other common species of aphids include the following:

  • Apple aphid

Scientifically known as Aphis pomi, this type has yellow-green bodies with dark legs and a gloomy head. As the name suggests, apple aphids only overwinter on apple trees.

The adults of apple aphids can be either winged or wingless and they live through the winter as black eggs. Further, these pests generate honeydew that promotes the development of sooty mold.

  • Green peach aphid

Myzus persicae or commonly known as the green peach aphid or spinach aphid is a destructive insect that transmits mosaic diseases to various plants.

These species have pale yellow-green bodies with several dark strokes on their back. Their life cycle includes two hosts that originate their common name.

  • Cabbage aphid

You can these aphid species in clusters underneath leaves of radishes, cauliflower, cabbage, and brussels sprouts.

They are tiny and gray-green with a powdery, waxy covering. These aphids overwinter as black eggs in northern areas.

Aphid life cycle

Aphid life cycle
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Aphids have a complicated life cycle. These pests may have around 25 days of lifespan only. However, within this short time, they can reproduce about 80 young aphids, named nymphs.

Stem mothers, the wingless female of aphids, generate living young without fertilization (known as parthenogenesis) on a plant.

Then, the offspring eventually turns into adults, making the plant overcrowded. As this happens, some of them start to develop two couples of big membranous wings that allow them to move to another plant.

At the end of summer, female and male aphids mate. The females then lay eggs that stay alive in the winter and the next generation occurs. 

Identifying aphids Damage

Identifying aphids Damage
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Any practice of aphid control method should start with identifying the signs of these pests in the garden. If you can notice the damage caused by these pests earlier, the effort to control aphids will not be that hard.

An aphid infestation can harm your plants in many different ways. If huge numbers of these pests eat up the sap of the leaves, they may turn yellow and begin to wilt. 

You may also notice that the affected foliages become stunted, curled, or misshaped. 

Sticky honeydew and the marks of black sooty mold are among the other symptoms of aphid existence in your plants.

Moreover, a sudden growth of ants is another good reason to be alert to aphid infestations. 

How to Get Rid Of Aphids Naturally

How to Get Rid Of Aphids Naturally
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Luckily, some insects serve as the natural enemies of aphids. They can even manage the infestation of these pests better than any other method available to landowners.

Since pesticides tend to destroy these predatory bugs instead of the aphids, you may consider refraining from applying them to your garden. 

Practicing natural ways to kill these pests will be much more recommended in this view.

1. Killing aphids with soapy water

Killing aphids with soapy water
Image by hortmag

One of the natural methods to kill aphids is to use a homemade spray with soapy water. This low-toxicity insect control solution is effective to destroy aphids by dehydrating their soft bodies.

Add a few drops of liquid dish soap into one litter of water. Mix them well and apply the solution by spraying or wiping onto the stems, buds, and leaves of the affected plants.

Since aphids like to conceal themselves beneath foliages, make sure the solution covers the underside of the leaves too. 

Furthermore, you must repeat this method twice or thrice a week so that you don’t detect aphids on the plant anymore.

2. Getting rid of ants

Getting rid of ants
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Encouraging predatory insects will be less effective if you let ants live in your garden. They are the sworn protectors of aphids and killing them will be a crucial part of your aphid control program.

Aphids generate honeydew that becomes the source of food for ants. Thus, these little insects will like to defend this precious resource.

You can control ants by cutting the lower parts of your plants. Making sure these sections do not touch the ground will stop the access for ants to climb up.

Moreover, you should consider covering the lower part of the stem with a sticky substance. This can prevent ants from climbing up the plant too.

For shrubs and thick-barked trees, you can use the sticky substance right on the stem. However, you better avoid doing so in other plants.

Apply the sticky substance to the tape and then use it to wrap the stem.

3. Luring aphids with plants

Luring aphids with plants
Image by Homesandgardens

Some plants are specifically attractive to aphids and allow you to use them for luring these pests away from your garden.

The idea is to grow these plants far from your garden so that aphids will feed on them instead of your precious collections.

These plants include aster, cosmos, nasturtium, mum, larkspur, hollyhock, verbena, dahlia, tuberous begonia, and zinnia.

4. Applying neem oil spray

Applying neem oil spray
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This oil is a popular home remedy to deal with various destructive bugs. When it comes to aphids, the solution will cover these insects and kill them eventually.

You can apply a neem oil spray regularly for aphid control, but expect beneficial insects like lacewings and ladybugs to get affected by the solution.

Hence, refrain from applying neem oil spray if you notice the existence of ladybugs or other beneficial insects on your plant. 

5. Spraying water from a hose

Spraying water from a hose
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The simplest way to get rid of aphids is to use a powerful spray of water from a hose. This can knock off lots of aphids from your plant.

Furthermore, this method will cleanse some of the aphids’ honeydew too. You can expect these insects to stop coming around your garden after finish.

Consider spraying the plant with water daily or until the plant is free from aphids.

For a bad infestation, you can use natural aphid spray vinegar instead. This will give you more power to prevent these pests from returning to your garden.

6. Introducing parasitic wasps

Introducing parasitic wasps
Image by Schoolofbugs

You can introduce insects like ladybugs and lacewings effective to protect your plants against various species of aphids.

Parasitic wasps are specifically helpful when getting rid of aphids. These insects will lay their eggs inside young aphids and kill them.

Consider growing dill, mint, yarrow, dandelions, and fennel to draw the attention of these beneficial bugs to your garden.

7. Practicing proper treatment

Practicing proper treatment
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Proper treatment practice that includes regular pruning may help to deal with aphids. When you notice their presence in the garden, try pruning off the infested locations and get rid of the pests by hand.

Since fertilization and irrigation may promote more aphids to invade your garden, many recommend limiting it for this pest control.

You may also shop for the best insecticide for aphids if the infestation goes worse. However, make sure to use it per the instruction label for safety reasons. 

8. Other Tips to Get Rid of Aphids Naturally

In your vegetable garden, you can use reflective mulch or aluminum foil to deter aphids by applying them under the plants. 

This method is very effective, but you may want to avoid applying it in your flower bed. 

Besides, you can consider growing young plants under row covers to ward off aphids. Once they start to bloom, don’t forget to take out the covers. 

A solution containing baking soda and warm water is also worth a try when you are looking for a way to kill aphids naturally.

Plants That Control and Repel Aphids

Plants That Control and Repel Aphids
Image by Kew

In addition to their natural enemies, some plants can deter aphids too. They even make better pest control than any remedy available for killing these insects.

More interestingly, plants also offer other benefits than simply deterring aphids from your garden. Some are edible and make fresh ingredients for your delicious cuisines.

Others can increase your garden’s appeal while keeping a variety of destructive insects at bay. Several plants may even draw beneficial animals to the garden for pollination purposes.

1. Marigold

Image by gardenguides

Keep the destructive aphids at bay while adding aesthetic value to your garden by planting marigolds near the infested plants.

Marigold features a strong scent that makes it hard for aphids to demolish it. This flowering plant can disguise the fragrance of various plants and save them from these pests too.

Besides, marigold also makes a great plant to deter other insects, such as stink bugs and cabbage moths.

2. Garlic

Image by gardeningknowhow

Like many other bugs, aphids hate garlic, particularly the cloves that contain sulfur compounds.

Besides, garlic can disrupt aphids’ ability to smell thanks to its strong fragrance. Thus, these pests will stay away from your plants and garden.

Instead of growing them in the garden, you can use garlic to create a homemade spray to destroy aphids. Crush some garlic and add it to a bottle of water. 

Mix well and spray the solution directly on your plants.

A study also indicates that garlic is among the most potent plants. You can include it in crops to decrease the occurrence of pests in adjacent crop plots.

3. Catnip

Image by applewoodseed

If you need to deal with bad infestations of aphids, growing catnip can be the best solution. The aroma of this plant is strong enough to confuse these bugs.

Moreover, catnip helps promote beneficial insects to enter your garden. Thus, you can count on them to help with your aphid control program.

4. Parsley and rosemary

Parsley and rosemary
Image by gosumitup

Plant some parsley in your garden to draw predatory wasps. These insects will feed on aphids on plants and keep them under control.

Another herb that can deter these annoying insects is rosemary. Also, the strong aroma of this plant can repel some other pests too.

Unfortunately, rosemary plants may have no capacity to defend themselves against aphids once weakened.

5. Rye and Rue

Rye and Rue
Image by Myfloridabackyard

Rye is probably not a perfect plant to grow with others. However, research indicates that this plant can keep various pests away. 

This includes aphids, mealybugs, mites, roaches, and spider mites

If you need an option that makes a great companion plant for other herbs and veggies in the garden, pick rue instead.

Offering bitter leaves and a strong fragrance, rue becomes an effective plant to deter aphids. 

Final Thoughts

Aphids are bothersome pests that are not only harmful to your plants but also problematic for humans. They draw ants to your space and may give your garden an end.

To make sure you are aphid-free, now is the best time to practice some effective ways to kill these pests while preventing them from coming back.

Above I have carefully arranged a few natural ways to get rid of aphids that you can try. Hope you can be free from aphids by practicing those tips. Good luck!

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