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.
Aphids, or Aphidoidea to the scientific world, are tiny, soft-bodied insects that infect a variety of decorative and edible plants.
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.
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.
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.
Aphid-infested plants often have yellow, curling, or generally unhealthy-looking leaves.
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.
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:
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.
Of course, sometimes aphids will insist on taking over your garden. Luckily, they are usually fairly easy to expel without insecticides.
Some natural or organic methods include:
For a not-so-natural but potent home aphid remedy, many gardeners swear by:
If all else fails, insecticides can be used to eradicate these tiny pests, but aphids are rarely so uncontrollable that this becomes necessary.