Rid Your Garden Of Aphids

What You'll Need
Garden hose and attachments
Spray bottles
Pruning shears
Stick traps

Aphids are among the very worst garden pests. They appear every spring and can make a big meal of leaves and wreak havoc on your roses and other types of plants. Getting rid of aphids is a task that needs to be done every year. It takes work, but your plants and your garden will thank you for it. Rather than use chemicals, get rid of aphids the natural way.

Step 1 - By Hand

From early spring, you need to examine the leaves on plants regularly. You should look at least every week, or every time you work in the garden if you can manage that. You can spot them on the leaves, especially where leaves are curled, and also on new growth and the flower buds. They’ll be visible as little clusters. When you spot them, pick them off, being certain to wear gloves. If you don’t want to touch them, and many people don’t, use the hose to direct a sharp stream of water at the aphids to throw them off the plant. This can prove to be a very effective tactic where there are just a few of them.

You might not get them all, so the best thing to do is to cut off the foliage that’s infected. Don’t put it in your compost bin, but dispose of it in the garbage.

Step 2 - Pesticide

You can make your own pesticide to eliminate aphids. Use 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid in 1 cup of vegetable oil. This is the basic solution. Put 1 ½ teaspoons in a cup of warm water in a spray bottle. Don’t just spray the aphids on the plant, but take time to spray the entire plant. It will kill the bugs it finds and keep them off other areas of the plant.

Step 3 - Plantings

What you plant can have an effect on the aphid population. Some, like birch trees, attract aphids. Instead, you should put in plants that tend to keep these pests away. Spearmint, Queen Anne’s lace and sweet fennel are among those that draw in bugs like ladybugs and lacewings that keep down the aphid population. Also, consider sweet clover, which is a lacewing favorite.

Step 4 - Insects

If you don’t have any of those plants around but you want to control the aphids without a natural pesticide, you can buy ladybugs and lacewings. These will devour the aphids and leave your plants clean. You can look online to buy them or simply go to larger garden stores, which should have them in stock during the season.

Step 5 - Ants

It’s important to keep ants away from the garden as much as possible. They like the sap excreted by aphids, known as honeydew, and will protect the aphids to keep their food source. They’ll also transport the aphids to other plants. Eliminating them will help your garden.