5 effective ways to control aphids in the garden

June 23, 2015

Get rid of aphids the first time you see them; these pests reproduce rapidly. They not only suck the nutrients from plants, but can also spread any number of plant viruses.

5 effective ways to control aphids in the garden

When you spot aphids

If hundreds of aphids cover stem tips, or they're clustered on the undersides of individual leaves, pinching off the infested plant part is easier than trying to kill the aphids.

Here are some other ways to eliminate aphids.

1. Tackling aphids on rosebushes

  • To tackle aphids on rosebushes or other plants, bury dried or cut-up banana peels three to five centimetres deep around the base of the aphid-prone plants, and soon the little suckers will pack up and leave.

Don't use whole peels or the bananas themselves, though; they tend to be viewed as tasty treats by raccoons, squirrels, gophers, rabbits and other animals, who will damage plant roots as they dig up the fruit.

2. Make a simple spray

  • A simple and effective spray for aphids is 30 millilitres (two tablespoons) of dishwashing liquid in four litres (one gallon) of water.
  • For another good spray, mix 15 millilitres (one tablespoon) of liquid soap and 250 millilitres (one cup) of vegetable oil, then add 10 millilitres (two teaspoons) of the mixture to four litres (a gallon) of water.
  • Don't use it on squash, cauliflower or cabbage, which can suffer leaf burn.
  • When using either recipe, spray the plants with the mixture and follow with a spray of water. Wait about 15 minutes, then repeat.

3. Sprinkle wood ashes

Sprinkle wood ashes over bushes and lowlying plants; they are caustic and will dehydrate and suffocate aphids.

  • Use a shaker with large holes, such as a grated-cheese container, or sprinkle them on by hand.
  • After a day, wash away the ashes with a hose.

4. Make a citrus spray

The smell of citrus pleases humans, but aphids don't like it.

  • To make a pleasantly fragrant spray to use against aphids that have found plants on your porch or patio, blend the rind of a lemon with one litre (one quart) of water and add a few drops of dishwashing liquid before spraying it on plants.

5. Mix a spicy spray

Use your blender to make organic aphid killers.

  • Purée three or four jalapeño peppers and three cloves of garlic with one litre (one quart) of water; strain and use as a spray.
  • A mixture of mineral oil and garlic also works.
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