Aphids, those little creatures that invade your garden. It doesn’t matter to them whether it’s flowers or vegetables, this little pest just suck the life right out of the plants. They actually suck the sap right out of your plants. But I’ve got two natural ways to combat aphids in the garden that really work.
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What are Aphids
Aphids are small almost microscopic at times soft-bodied little bugs that love to suck the life right out of plants. They can be green, black, gray, white, brown, or even pink. They usually feed in large groups so you’re more likely to see large clusters of them on the plants.
Signs of Aphids
A few things to look for on your plants to tell if you have aphids are…
- Misshapen, curling or yellow leaves. Check under the leaves the aphids love to hang out there.
- Fruit or Flowers can become distorted when aphids are feeding on them.
- The leaves can feel sticky from the aphids feeding on them.
Now if you’ve looked around your garden and found a colony of these squishy, creepy crawlers that are feasting on your plants there are a few things you can try.
Aphid Control Ideas I’ve Tried in the Past
Blasting Them with Water
There are lots of ways you can control aphids in the garden. I once heard on a radio show that you can hose them off and they are too stupid to climb back up. I tried using our hose but our regular hose end just wouldn’t blast all of them off. They can really hold onto the plant.
I managed to get a few blasted off but it never quite took care of the aphid problem. Maybe if you caught them right when they were setting up shop on your plants the hose method would work. It might work better if you have a powerful hose end to direct the spray better too.
Cutting them Off
I don’t mean to cut each aphid off the plant, but if you have a localized area that is affected, like a leaf, cut it off and dispose of it. I know a couple of years ago I had one leaf like the one pictured in the first photo that was covered with aphids. I cut that leaf off.
I followed up by spraying the plant down with the hose. I thought that would solve the aphid problem. But they came back, well to be more accurate, I know I didn’t get them all off.
Two Natural Ways to Combat Aphids
Since neither of the two above really solved my aphid problem I knew I needed to find something that would. This year the first plant to fall victim to them was our roses. We noticed some of the flowers were misshapen and looked a little closer to find those sap-sucking aphids all over the plant.
I knew we needed to get them off but we didn’t have any insecticidal soap. We don’t like to use chemicals in our garden and usually, I would use the insecticidal soap to spray to control bugs.
I did a quick search and found you can make your own, but would they work as well, that was the question. I recently ordered Dr. Bronner’s Hemp Almond Castile Soap. I knew it would probably be the safest soap to use in our recipe. We decided to give it a try.
How to Make Insecticidal Soap
It’s super easy to make your own insecticidal soap. You’ll need soap and water. That’s it those two little ingredients to combat the sap-sucking aphids.
Fill a clean spray bottle with warm water. Our spray bottle holds a quart of water. To the warm water we added two teaspoons of soap and gently shook it to mix.
That’s all there is to make your own insecticidal soap. You can add a pinch cayenne pepper to the water too. But we found it worked well without it.
To use, spray the affected areas of the plant with the homemade insecticidal soap. Let it dry and check to see if you see any aphids moving the next day or two.
We saw aphids on our plants but they were dead. After the second application about a week later to our roses, the aphids were gone.
We were just thrilled with the results and this is now our go to aphid control. But I did say I’d be sharing two ways to control aphids, the second is a little bug we all know and probably love, the ladybug.
Using Predators to Control Aphids
The second way we control aphids in our garden is by releasing ladybugs. We purchased a bag of ladybugs from our local nursery or you can mail order them.
We usually release a bag every couple of years and find them often in the gardening eating the aphids. I’m sure some do fly away but we have found them to be really beneficial at keeping the aphids down. I’ve even relocated a ladybug or two when I find aphids on the plants to help them get to eating them faster.
Those are 4 ways I’ve used to combat aphids in our garden. I would really suggest starting with the homemade insecticidal spray if you have a problem right now in your garden and ordering ladybugs to release into the garden to help keep the aphids under control.
It’s the combination that seems to work really well in our own garden.
Now that I’ve shared the best ways to control aphids. The other Tuesdays in the Garden bloggers have more great gardening advice to share too. Take a look at the photos below and click on the link or photo to be taken to the next gardening article with summer garden advice. I’m sure you’ll find some great garden ideas!