Photo by Ryszard

How to Get Rid of Aphids on Plants | Quick Guide to Controlling Aphids

Tiny aphids seem to appear in nearly every garden. They multiply at an alarming rate and can quickly take over a garden if left unchecked. Luckily, though, they’re easy enough to prevent and easier still to eradicate if they do creep in.

What are aphids?

Aphids, or Aphidoidea to the scientific world, are tiny, soft-bodied insects that infect a variety of decorative and edible plants.

Identifying aphids

Aphids come in a variety of plant-specific species (cabbage aphids and apple aphids, for example), and many are different colors: the pesky little bugs can be brown, white, gray, and even yellow or green. You’ll usually see them in large clusters.

Why they love your plants

Aphids feed on plant juices. This makes them especially destructive because they can feed on virtually every part of the plant, from the leaves to the fruits and flowers.

How to identify an aphid infestation

Because they can overtake your crop in no time, quick identification is key. In addition to their colony-like behavior and tiny size, they also alert you to their presence by changing the appearance of your plants.

Leaves

Aphid-infested plants often have yellow, curling, or generally unhealthy-looking leaves.

Residue

Aphids often produce a sugary, sticky substance that appears on your plants. This substance, known as “honeydew”, can cause other problems, like secondary insect infestations and mold problems.

How to prevent aphid infestations

Clearly, aphids are not a welcome guest in your garden, so it’s better to keep them away altogether. The easiest way to do this is through companion planting. Some of the best candidates to keep aphids out of your garden include:

Aphids companion planting

Another option is to draw aphids away from your prized crops with other plants that aphids like more. You can provide a “distraction” for your aphid population with:

Of course, no companion plant is perfect, so you may need to try a variety of combinations before identifying the best plant for your climate and crop type.

How to control aphid infestations

Of course, sometimes aphids will insist on taking over your garden. Luckily, they are usually fairly easy to expel without insecticides.

Organic control

Some natural or organic methods include:

  • Water: Often all aphids need is a hard, cold blast of water from the hose to send them packing.
  • Covering plants with a thin layer of flour: It may not look pretty, but baking flour can wreak havoc on aphids’ digestive systems and deter them from eating your plants.

Inorganic control

For a not-so-natural but potent home aphid remedy, many gardeners swear by:

  • Using dish detergent. Dilute a small amount of dish detergent in water and wipe it on the leaves of your plants or spritz them with the solution using a spray bottle.dish detergent

If all else fails, insecticides can be used to eradicate these tiny pests, but aphids are rarely so uncontrollable that this becomes necessary.

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