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How to Get Rid of Aphids? – 10 Easy Ways!

Aphids

There are many pests that can plague and infest your garden through the seasons but one is particularly very destructive for your plants. We are talking about aphids! They are commonly known as garden lice, greenflies, and plant lice.

The most annoying and frustrating part about these pests is that they can multiply overnight and quickly destroy all your plants, leaving you with sticky and stunted houseplants

These quarter-inch-long plant pests’ soft, pear-shaped bodies come in many shades of white, black, yellow, green, brown, or red.

They feed on the plant’s sap and practically suck the life out of leaves, stems, buds, flowers, fruit, and roots, making them the misery of gardeners everywhere. So, here is a guide to help solve this misery. Today, we will tell you 10 easy ways to get rid of Aphids without damaging your plants! 

What Are Aphids?

Aphids are tiny, soft-bodied, pear-shaped insects that suck plant juices by clustering tightly on the weak new growth on the undersides of leaves. Plants may often tolerate some aphid feeding without harm, but heavily infested plants suffer deformed growth and the leaves become yellow or drop off. 

Thus, this is why it is absolutely important to remove them from the infected plant before they ruin your entire garden. 

Types of Aphids?

Aphids come in about 4,000 different species, with 250 pests of crops and ornamental plants. While aphids feed on a wide range of plants in general, various kinds of aphids are more particular to specific plants. Different types of Aphids that can infect plants are bean aphids, cabbage aphids, potato aphids, green peach aphids, melon aphids, woolly apple aphids, etc. Depending on their species, aphids come in a variety of colors.        

How to Identify Aphids?

Aphids are tiny (adults are less than 14 inches long). It is particularly hard to identify aphids with a naked eye – especially the green ones as they blend with the green leaves of the plant. 

Moreover, the nymphs have pear-shaped bodies and long antennae, and they resemble adults. Cornicles are two small tubes that protrude from the hind end of most species.

Whereas adult Aphids are usually wingless, most species can develop a winged form when populations become crowded.  Winged Aphids can travel to other plants and reproduce to start a new colony. 

As stated earlier, various species can occur in multiple colors, including white, black, brown, grey, yellow, light green, and even pink! Look out for any waxy or fuzzy coating that may be seen on some part of the plant. 

What Aphid Damage Looks Like?

Aphids suck the life out of a plant – LITERALLY! They suck the sap and deprive the plant of its nutrients. So, look for leaves that are deformed, curled, stunted, or fading. Aphids love to lurk on the undersides of leaves, so keep an eye out for them. 

If you notice a sticky substance on the leaves or stems, it’s a sign that aphids have been sipping sap. This “honeydew,” a sugary liquid produced as waste by these insects, can attract other insects, such as ants, who collect it for sustenance.

Honeydew from aphids feeding on trees can fall onto automobiles, outdoor furniture, roadways, and other surfaces. Moreover, the honeydew can also sometimes promote the formation of a fungus known as sooty mold, which turns branches and leaves black. 

Furthermore, feeding aphids can cause damaged or malformed flowers or fruit. So, if you notice any such deformities, quickly inspect your plant thoroughly. You can use a magnifying glass to look closely and catch any hidden aphids under the leaves. 

How to Prevent Aphids?

While there are effective ways to get rid of aphids, why let it happen in the first place? Here is how you can prevent Aphids and protect your houseplants against pests in general: 

Horticultural Oil

Spray dormant horticultural oil on fruit or shade trees to eliminate overwintering aphid eggs. 

Beneficial Insects 

Allow ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps on your plants as they will feed on Aphids and keep the aphid population in control. 

Companion Planting 

Well, there are some plants that Aphids hate. So, add those plants to your houseplant collection or in your garden. For example, aphids repel catnip. Moreover, Aphids are particularly attracted to some plants so it is better to avoid them such as mustard and nasturtium. 

Regular Maintenance 

Aphids usually target weaker plants so to avoid Aphids, make sure your plant is healthy and thriving. Avoid under/overwatering, irregular fertilization, and give proper sunlight. 

Coffee Grounds 

Many people believe that keeping coffee grounds in the soil avoids aphids. While there is not much scientific evidence to back this claim, it is still worth a shot! 

10 Ways To Get Rid of Aphids

Here are 10 easy ways to get rid of aphids without destroying your plant with nasty chemicals!

Image Source: Instagram 

Get Rid of Aphids by Hand

To kill them, put on some gardening gloves and knock them off of stems, leaves, flower buds, or wherever else you see them into a pail of soapy water. You can also remove the afflicted portions by cutting or pruning them and dumping them into the bucket.

Use Organic Neem Sprays

Aphids and other insects, such as mealy bugs, cabbage worms, beetles, leaf miners, ants, and several caterpillars, are repelled by the organic chemicals in neem oil. It may, however, repel helpful insects, so exercise caution if they are present. 

Spray the affected areas after diluting the oil in water according to the package directions or using a ready-to-use neem oil spray. Neem oil is also effective against certain types of fungus.

Use Essential Oils

Use essential oils to make a spray mixture. In a small spray bottle, combine 4 to 5 drops of peppermint, clove, rosemary, and thyme with water. Spray on afflicted plants to kill adult aphids, as well as aphids in the larval stage.

Removing Aphids with Alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol (also known as isopropanol or rubbing alcohol) works well and is readily available, but be sure it is free of contaminants. Ethanol (grain alcohol) appears to be the most effective. In most stores, alcohol is sold at a 70 percent strength. To prepare an insecticidal spray, combine equal parts of 70 percent alcohol and water. 

Wash With Hose 

Using a strong hose to wash plants will knock off the aphids. However, make sure you don’t throw them off to other plants. 

Dust Plant With Diatomaceous Earth.

Diatomaceous earth (DE or diatomite) is a sedimentary rock containing silica. DE is deadly to pests because the diatoms have razor-sharp edges that can cut through the waxy outer layer of an insect’s body upon contact. This allows moisture to escape from the insect’s body, fatally dehydrating it. 

So, you can kill aphids by lightly coating them with diatomaceous earth. However, it should be food-grade DE and not pool-grade/filter-grade DE because the latter is not safe to use around humans and animals.

Beneficial Insects 

Allow ladybugs, lacewings and parasitic wasps on your plants as they will feed on Aphids and keep the aphid population in control. 

Companion Planting 

Well, there are some plants that Aphids hate. So, add those plants to your houseplant collection or in your garden. For example, aphids repel catnip. Moreover, Aphids are particularly attracted to some plants so it is better to avoid them such as mustard and nasturtium. 

Use Tanglefoot 

Tanglefoot is an adhesive trap to catch insects and pests. It has a sticky substance to trap aphids and ants, and other insects. 

Use A Mini Vacuum On Indoor Plants

If aphids have infested your indoor houseplants, use some of the methods mentioned above.  However, you can also try to use a small vacuum to suck them off the leaves of your houseplants.

Why Shouldn’t You Use Chemicals to Remove Aphids?

Aphids are easier to kill than many other pests due to their delicate bodies. Natural chemical controls such as soaps and oils, which disturb the structure of their membranes and smother them, are hazardous to them. However, using harsh chemicals will not only remove Aphids but they can be dangerous to the plant itself. Therefore, it is recommended to use safe remedies to remove Aphids. 

Conclusion

Aphids harm crops and damage houseplants in many ways. They can grow to significant population densities, robbing plants of essential nutrients and sucking enough sap to induce wilting and death.

If aphid honeydew excretion isn’t rinsed off, it can build up on plants and serve as a breeding ground for sooty molds, obstructing photosynthesis and promoting other fungal illnesses.

Some aphids’ salivary secretions are phytotoxic, causing stunting, leaf distortion, and gall formation. Therefore, you should use the above-mentioned remedies to remove aphids from your plant before it is too late! 

Written by Chris Buckland

Hello, I’m Chris. I’m a houseplant expert. I have been Cultivating and Growing Houseplants for 20 years. Plants are like my children. I love to write about Indoor plants and share my experience. That's why I started writing everything I know about houseplants.

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