Natural Ways to Remove Aphids Natural Ways to Remove Aphids
Many gardeners have to struggle with aphids at some point. The tiny insects are also known as plant lice and are highly destructive insect pests. They can cause serious damage to your plants. The pests usually occur in colonies underneath leaves, especially on new plant growth. They feed on plant sap which gradually destroys plants. Heavily infested leaves become yellow and wilt. Sometimes they infect the plant with a virus that causes disease. The insects breed rapidly and in huge numbers. If left unchecked they have the capacity to destroy an entire garden. You can use a combination of natural methods to eliminate the insects as shown below.
Step 1 – Inspect your Garden
Make a thorough inspection of your garden. Look for clusters of the tiny insects, especially on new plant growth. Check underneath leaves, on twisted or curly leaves and flower buds. If the infestation is mild, you can pick the insects with your hand. Place in a jar of water and dispose of when done with the inspection.
Step 2 – Prune Affected Parts
It is best to trim off infested plant parts. Use your pruning shears to prune off infestation. This helps to slow down the aphid advance. Carefully dispose of pruned material so that the insects don’t spread elsewhere.
Step 3 – Spray with Water
A sharp stream of water helps to clear the insects from the plants. Use your garden hose to spray down affected plants. Be sure to spray long enough to dislodge the insects from plant parts. The strong force of water removes and drowns the plant lice.
Step 4 – Apply Non-Toxic Pesticide
It is best to use natural pesticide for pest control. These cause no harm to humans, pets and the environment. Mix 1 tablespoon of liquid detergent, 1 cup of vegetable oil and 1 quart of warm water. Be sure to mix the solution well to encourage even distribution. Place the solution in a spray bottle. Spray directly on the insects wherever you spot them. It is a good idea to spray the entire plant for more thorough aphid elimination.
Step 5 – Use Sticky Traps
Place yellow sticky traps around affected plants. These will help to capture the insects as they fly. Check the traps every couple of days to remove trapped insects. Replace those that you remove so that insect capture is an ongoing process.
Step 6 – Introduce Beneficial Insects
Ladybugs and lacewings are some of the natural predators for plant lice. These beneficial insects feed on the lice and can help bring down the population. You can obtain these beneficial insects from your local garden store.
- Frequent garden inspection can help you spot the insects early. Carefully inspect your garden every couple of days, especially underneath leaves.
- Do not over fertilize. The prolific new growth of over fertilized plants attracts the insects. Slow release fertilizers are best if you have aphid problems.
- Birch trees attract aphids. Do not plant this tree in your garden. However, plants such as spearmint, sweet fennel and sweet clover attract ladybugs and lacewings. These will help control the aphid.