Aphids are small insects that attack most of the houseplants and vegetable plants. Like other plant pests, aphids suck the plant nutrients. They have more than 4400 species all over the globe. You can get rid of aphids in many ways. If this is the beginning of infestation you can remove them by hands. In serve infections, you have to use chemical methods.
In this post, you will learn how to get rid of aphids in easy ways? First of all, we will start with their identification.
Aphids are tiny size plant pests. They have two antennae on their forehead. They also have one slender tube on both sides of their rear end. They use their head antennae to communicate with each other and also to find healthy juicy plant leaves.
The color of their body depends on their species. Aphids are white, green, light yellow, light brown, and even black in color. The color difference indicates their species only. It has nothing to do with their resistance to cool weather.
Generally, aphids do not have wings at the time of their birth. But when they drink all the content of their host plant. They develop wings to fly to other plants in the area.
Aphids, attacks are common in the spring and summer seasons. They need warm weather to live.
How to check plants for infestation?
The good news is aphids are visible to naked eyes. This means you can easily spot them on your plants.
First of all, check the underside of the leaves. Aphids are clever insects they do their work in hiding. They never come on the upper surface of the plant leaves.
Turn the plant leaves and closely inspect them for any sign of aphids.
Check the discolored foliage of plants. On close inspection, you will see tiny bits on the leaves. They puncture the leaves to drink the plant juice.
They also spread diseases to other plants. If suddenly your plants look sick and unhealthy. This indicates the presence of aphids.
In the third step, you need to look for the sticky substance that is called honeydew. This is not real honey. Actually, when the aphids eat the sap of plants, they release a thick substance like honey. Sometimes it looks like green dark fungus.
If the plants leave shine in bright light and seem to be covered with some laminating-like substance. This indicates the presence of aphids.
To catch the infestation in the first stage you need to inspect the plants once a week. Check for the root to tip (do not take it out of the pot). If you see tiny bites on leaves, shining substance on stems. Any unusual thing or appearance of leaves means there is something wrong with the plant. It might be aphids.
How to get rid of aphids?
There are two methods of control, the first is manual, and the second is commercial sprays.
The manual method
In this method, you wear surgical gloves and use your hands to remove them. This technique is good for mild infestation. Pluck insects from the leaves and kill them.
If they are dozen or 2 dozen you can easily remove them one by one. If they are more in number then you can use a cotton cloth to wipe the leaves.
If still there are some colonies of them are left. Then you should use a garden hose and spray water on them. They cannot stand in front of water pressure. Shake the plant and they will fall down on earth.
In some cases, only a single portion of the plant gets infected. In this case, you can easily cut the affected part of the plant and save other plant parts. The removed part will grow automatically in a short time.
The plant has the tendency to grow more leaves and stems if you cut them.
If you see the large colonies of the aphids then the only solution is to cut the infected parts of the plant. You can cut the leaves, stems, and any infected part as long as it is not the main stem. Because the main stem or mother stem transports the nutrients to all parts of the plants.
Diy Methods and Pesticides
How to get rid of aphids with Homemade solutions?
Take a spray bottle to add few ounces of warm water. Then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of liquid dishwashing soap. Use this spray to kill unwanted insects including aphids.
Spray it on the infected parts of the plants.
There is one problem with this solution. This solution also kills beneficial insects. So, you need to careful while using it. Only use it on the selected parts.
The solution to this problem is using essential oils instead of dishwashing liquid. Essential oils like peppermint oil, rosemary, clove are safe to use on plants. These oils release fragrance. Aphids and other pests cannot tolerate the fragrance. This solution will not kill the bugs. They just leave the place immediately.
The next homemade solution is neem oil. When people ask us how to get rid of aphids. Our first advice is diluted neem oil spray. Neem oil is anti-bacterial and kills the bugs in 1 to 2 hours.
You can get pure oil from any supermarket or garden store. Then take a spray bottle and add few drops of it in few ounces of warm water. Shake the bottle and then spray the solution on the plant.
This method is beneficial to get rid of Thrips, aphids, mealybugs, scales.
Pesticides on aphids
The first thing you can use is insecticidal soap. This soap has mild strength. But it is very effective to kill aphids. Buy it from the local nursery, supermarket, or from greenhouses.
No need to mix it with anything. Just use it on the plants like you use soap on your body. Wash your plants with it without damaging your plants.
Insecticidal soaps are harmful to some delicate houseplants. Read the instruction and warnings on the soap before buying.
At last, if all the above solutions do not work then use commercial pesticides. These pesticides kill all types of beneficial and non-beneficial insects. In fact, due to the high potency and strength. Sometimes untrained growers burn their plants by using a high concentration of commercial pesticides.
Therefore, to play safe always choose premixed ready to use spray pesticide bottles.
Ladybugs, hoverflies are the first line of defense. Aphids are their favorite food. Introduce these beneficial insects to your garden.
Garden stores sell these insects in two forms one is eggs (larvae) and adults.
You can grow such plants that are proven to attract ladybugs and other beneficial insects. Parsley and sunflower are the main plants that attract them.