Among all the pests that exist in your garden, aphids are known to cause the most destructive effects. No wonder people want to know how to get rid of aphids from their garden effectively to avoid huge loss. They can multiply quickly and invade the garden, making stunted and weak plants that shortly come to die.
Popularly known as plant lice, aphids are small sap-sucking bugs that survive by taking the juice of plants. Aphids come in different types so that you might find them live underneath leaves or in the roots of plants. They are hardly visible until the numbers grow massive. That’s why early control helps much.
9 Ways to Keep the Aphids Off from Your Garden Naturally
Prevent aphids to come into the garden is easier than get rid of them after the invasion. Keep them off from the garden is actually the success of your gardening practices. However, you have to make sure to use natural methods to fight them so you don’t cause any side effects to the garden.
1. Avoid Excessive Use of Fertilizers
Talking about the plants’ growth, aphids like to invade to juicy and tender young shoots. Hence, the most effective thing to keep their numbers under control is to avoid excessive use of fertilizers. Many fertilizers contain nitrogen that results in fast new growth.
At the same time, it triggers the appearance of generations of aphids in the garden. Rather than using a huge amount of fertilizers once, you had better give the plants smaller amounts of nutrients all along the season. Otherwise, you can use organic fertilizers when they are required.
2. Keep the Plants Hydrated
Summer causes stress on plants because the drought season is the vulnerable time for aphids to multiply. In dry conditions, plants are less defense since they cannot produce particular natural chemicals that help them to fight the pests.
Drought also produces a better quality of plant sap so that they are more fascinating for aphids. It occurs since both sugar and nitrogen appear in more concentrated form when plants in drought conditions. This enables aphids to get more beneficial foods quickly.
In order to keep the aphids off from your garden, you have to make sure the plants remain hydrated by giving them plenty of water. It will make plants live strongly and healthily. Avoid underwatering and overwatering because both of them attract aphids.
Underwatering causes plants to suffer in a drought when they can’t optimally produce chemicals to beat the aphids. Meanwhile, overwatering triggers the growth of shoots which become the favorite foods for aphids.
3. Invite Good Insects to the Garden
Aphids are the favorite prey for many natural bugs. Among a wide variety of foods that are considered to be natural predators of aphids such as ladybugs, wasps, lacewings, and hoverflies. Those bugs either adults or larvae cat eat the whole or some parts of aphids.
Thus, one of the great ways on how to get rid of aphids is by inviting those good bugs to your garden. Take the benefit from the small presence of wasps to sign aphids. Once the wasps come, aphids tend to fall down from the plants and soon die.
One of the good ways to invite good bugs to your garden is by growing various kinds of flowers with nectar. Many people grow particular plants that aphids like and keep the ladybugs or other good insects to live around for controlling them.
When you do greenhouse gardening, the banker plants method works well to manage aphid infestations. It serves as an alternative food source for good bugs as they are known to be pest management. For instance, wheat or oat plants attract grain aphids. It will effectively invite wasps into the greenhouse garden.
A lot of aphids have been affected by wasps even when they just hatched their eggs. Wasps do great jobs to keep aphids remain in a small population throughout the season. It happens even without the help of pesticides or other biological ways of pest control.
4. Plant Natural Pest Repellants
Plants that produce strong aroma are also effective natural ways to keep aphids and other pests off from the garden. It can be done by just simply growing those kinds of plants around your garden. You can benefit from particular plants such as marigolds with their powerful aroma to repel aphids.
Not just marigolds, aphids also hate the aroma from catnip. Hence, you can plant catnips themselves or paired them with marigolds to protect valuable crops grow in your garden. Along with those plants, you can use herbs to frighten aphids as well.
Various herbs such as cilantro, chives, dill, and peppermint are producing smells that aphids hate. You can plant them in pots or surround the garden beds to protect vegetables or other beneficial crops you grow from their natural pest repellants.
Herbs do not only work well to deter aphids but also known to be a great way to stop fungal infection on the plants like powdery mildew. That’s why people like to benefit from herbs on how to get rid of powdery mildew from the garden.
5. Grow Trap Crops
People also like to use trap crops to trick aphids so that they keep away from valuable crops you plant in the garden. Trap cropping refers to another type of companion plant because they are commonly planted either next to or surround valuable crops.
As pest have their own ways to invade your garden, trap plants need to grow nearby the perimeter of the garden at the beginning of the season. At least, you can raise them few weeks prior to other plants in your garden. It gives them enough time to spread and flourish before the main crops grow actively.
Many trap crops work the best to keep aphids off from valuable crops such as calendula, nasturtiums, as well as nettles. If you discover aphids flock to these trap plants, pull the trap plants up and throw them in the garbage.
To make sure the aphid infestations don’t spread around, you have to compost the infested plants. Burn the compost pile of plants using a high temperature is how to get rid of aphids completely. Make sure the temperature is around 140 degrees F to get the optimal result.
The compost burning to kill aphids should be carried out far away from your garden to prevent it from damaging other plants living in the garden area.
6. Benefit from Strong Water Spray
The simple yet effective way to expel aphids quickly and naturally is by taking advantage of a strong blast of water. You just can find water everywhere, right? While in the garden, you can use a hose and point it directly to the infected leaves or plants and spray the aphids off with a strong flush of water.
Aphids’ legs are weak so as they get hit by water flush it will be difficult to get back into the plants and eat them. Not only aphids, but the water will also remove honeydew stick on the plants that cause ant infestation.
You can do this method regularly once in a few days as required until the aphids populations decline. Using strong water flush perhaps is less suitable for young and tender crops or huge aphid infestation. Once you discover that drenching the plants is no longer effective, you can try other natural ways to control aphids.
7. Kill Them with Insecticidal Soap
Aphids are easier to kill compared with other pests because their bodies are soft. They are prone to natural chemicals such as soaps or oils that damage their membrane structures and kill them. Insecticidal soaps work the best to fight aphids and overwinter aphid eggs when sprayed on them.
Since insecticidal soaps are often used in a spray, it becomes a more suitable way on how to get rid of aphids on indoor plants. It is because inviting good bugs or a flush of water is less possible for plants you grow inside the house.
Use this insecticidal soap properly by spraying them on the plant parts where you discover aphid infestation, which often either underneath the leaves or on the root. Avoid spraying them to the whole plant. This natural insecticide works as long as it still has contact with the plants, which means when it is still wet.
Different from other pesticides, plants cannot absorb them. Thus, it works when it still sticks on the plant surface and begins to lose its power when it dries. Insecticidal soap can be easy with home recipes. You can add either eucalyptus oil or peppermint that has a strong scent, something that aphids hate.
Another alternative option to control aphids naturally is making spray from a combination of neem oil and horticultural oil. Spray this liquid mixture to the aphids to drop them off from plants. As they fall down, they can’t crawl back to the leaves or other parts of the plants.
8. Use Diatomite to Kill Them
Diatomite happens to be a sedimentary rock containing silica. You can find this diatomaceous earth rock close to the streams such as in the rivers or lakes because they are typically mined there. This rock is usually crumbled into a tiny white powder which is not dangerous to humans.
As long as you don’t inhale it excessively, it stays harmless. However, it powerfully kills pests including aphids. Out of sight, the small size of diatoms come with sharp edges that can trim the outer layer of the pest body when make a contact.
As the sharp edges of the diatom hit the aphid bodies, it squeezes the moisture inside their body and makes them dehydrated. Another option is by applying lightly the diatomite to the aphid bodies. For this how to get rid of aphids treatment, you have to use food-grade diatomite.
Don’t misuse the filter-grade diatomite because it’s designed for swimming pools and contains a high amount of crystalline silica. Observe the whole parts of the plants to know where the aphid infestation happens. Once discover the part, spray them with a thin layer of diatomite once in a couple of days.
Since the fine powder of diatomite is easily rinsed by moisture, you need to reapply after several occasions such as rain, high humidity, or overhead watering.
9. Control Ants Population
There is a mutualistic relationship between aphids and ants. Once you can keep one of them under control, it will be easier to get rid of the other. Aphids consume plant sap and they emit honeydew, a liquid that contains high sugar from the plants. This digestion product of aphids highly attracts ants to come.
The honeydew production remains running because ants protect aphids from other predatory bugs. Even certain types of ants help aphids in carrying their eggs into their nest so that they can survive during winter. However, some of them tend to bite aphid wings so they cannot fly and keep depositing ants’ food.
Ants are also known to produce particular chemicals that give a calming effect on aphids, make them stay longer, and make them barely leave the plants they infest. People like to take benefits of some home remedies to kill aphids like neem oil and insecticidal soaps to repel ants as well.
Using those natural pests control actually can kill both aphids and ants at once. Inspect if there is an unexpected appearance of ant colonies around the plants grown in your garden. It can be an indication that there is hidden aphid infestation underneath the leaves.
To tackle the complex relationship between aphids and ants, you need to eliminate the ants from the garden first. This will make aphids off from the ants’ protection and good bugs will be easily arriving in your garden. Then, they will do their jobs to repel aphids from your plants.
There are many safe ways on how to get rid of aphids as you don’t need to use any chemicals. You just can take the benefits of other living creatures like beneficial bugs and herbs or making home remedies to repel aphids from your garden.