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Aphids and other predatory insects are taking over your garden, but you don’t want to use nasty pesticides to get rid of them? I totally get you!
Indeed, pesticides are not only bad for your long-term health, but they can also be poisonous if you inhale them during use. Besides, they are bad for the environment and they often kill other beneficial insects such as butterflies, bees, ladybugs, and many more.
This is why you should avoid at all costs using pesticides to kill aphids! Use my tips to get rid of aphids naturally instead!
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What do aphids look like?
Here is what aphids look like. As you can notice in the picture, it is rare to see singular exemplars of this insect, as they usually live in large colonies.
The reason is that aphids can reproduce both sexually and asexually. Therefore, they are going to blow up in your garden if you don’t catch them early. Furthermore, they can grow wings after a few generations on a plant which will make them spread more quickly as well.
This is why aphids are going to be easier to control when the infestation is lighter and most of the aphids are still nymphs (i.e. they are still “kid” aphids). In order to do that, you’ll wanna check your plants a couple of times a week so that you can catch aphids early on.
Preventing aphids is obviously one of the best ways to naturally prevent all the issues connected to their fast reproduction. You can do this by cultivating plants that repel this predatory insect. Among them are flowers such as nasturtiums, sunflowers, and marigolds. In addition, there are veggies, such as onions and garlic, and herbs, like catmint, lavender, turmeric, ginger, and oregano, that have similar repellent functions.
On the other hand, all of these plants do also attract beneficial bugs. In turn, these insects are useful because they eat the aphids and help keep them away from our garden. This is why planting a variety of flowers and herbs is what’s going to attract the most beneficial bugs to your garden. Among them, ladybugs are the best because they kill a ton of aphids.
In addition, birds do also kill aphids, so you can put a birdhouse in your yard to attract them. However, if you have cats be careful and try to place your birdhouse on a tall pole.
2. Spray your plants with water
If it’s too late to prevent the aphids from infesting your garden, here are some safe ways to naturally get rid of them. The first thing you can do if you don’t have too large of an infestation is to spray the plants with a strong jet of water. This will hopefully help remove a lot of those aphids. Then, you can pick the rest of them off by hand.
3. Make Your Own Organic Ant-aphid Spray
There are different recipes to create an effective ant-aphid spray at home. For example, you can use a combination of dandelion leaves, onion, garlic, and nettle. You can also make sprays with vinegar or dish soap (choose a soap that contains natural ingredients), to which you can also add pepper or neem oil.
These spray methods should be repeated every week until your aphids are gone. Alternatively, you can just use neem oil on the plants, using some cotton balls or directly spraying it on them. Neem oil is best for older aphids but keep in mind that it can also kill beneficial insects if they come in contact with it.
Another alternative is horticultural oil which suffocates the aphids. This is best for killing young aphids but keep in mind that it can ruin your ornamental plants. Finally, you can also dust the undersides of your plant with diatomaceous earth.
4. Look for ants!
Another important note is that ants are often the cause of aphids on plants. Indeed, ants often carry aphids on their backs and look for a suitable place to inhabit them. This can be found on your plants, as both aphids and ants love to drink their fresh juice. For this reason, it is important to follow the path of the ants and try to turn them away from your garden. This issue can also be solved with either a spray made with onions and lemon balm or by sprinkling some salt directly on their path. Perseverance is the key to success in this case.
I hope these tips will help you keep your aphids at bay! Again, avoiding pesticides helps both your health and the environment. You can also use my tips to grow these eight different veggies in your Central Florida or zone 7 garden!