Aphids are a common problem for organic gardeners. These small pests cause damage to plants by sucking the juice out of them and injecting their own substances into the plant. They can be difficult to spot because they are tiny, but you may notice wilting leaves or yellowing foliage in their wake. If you have aphids in your garden, then it’s about time for some organic gardening pest control.
11 Smart Methods of Organic Gardening Pest Control
1. Recognize Signs of Aphid Infestations
First things first: you have to know when you’ve got aphids. So be on the lookout for wilted leaves and yellow foliage, both of which indicate that plants are being drained of nutrients they need.
If you see these signs, get a closer look at the plant to see if you can spot aphids on or around it. They should look like little, oval-shaped bugs that are clustered together on the leaves. If you see them, then you know that pest control is your next step.
2. Use Epsom Salt on the Aphids
Aphids aren’t big fans of Epsom salt, while plants are. So you can use this natural mineral to your advantage and eliminate the aphids without harming your plants. Just mix the salt with water, add it to a spray bottle, and spray the solution.
As a bonus, some say the salt will also help your plant by providing magnesium, which is a nutrient that plants need in order to thrive. So in reasonable doses, this may even help your plants grow.
3. Spray With Soapy Water
Another organic way to get rid of aphids is by spraying them with soapy water. Just mix soap, water, and vinegar in a spray bottle and shake it up to make an organic insecticide. Then, spray the mixture over all of your plants, paying extra attention to where you think aphids might be hiding. The soap works by “melting” down the aphid’s protective outer layer, leaving them vulnerable to predators and killing them in the process.
Just make sure you don’t spray your plants too much or it may end up hurting them instead of helping. Rather, try to focus on plants that seem to be the most infested with aphids. That way your plants can get relief from the aphids and you don’t have to worry about being heavy-handed with soap.
4. Get Natural Predators Like Ladybugs to Eat Them for You
One of the best organic gardening pest control methods is getting natural predators like ladybugs, lacewings, and other bugs that eat aphids. You can purchase organic, live ladybugs from your local garden center and release them around your plants. They’ll go to work and eat all of the aphids they can find.
This method is very effective, but it may take a little while for all of the aphids on your plant to be eaten up. So it may be a good idea to combine this tip with some of the others on this list.
5. Use an Organic Pesticide Like Peppermint Oil or Neem Oil
Something else you can do is use something like peppermint oil or neem oil. These are both natural substances and won’t hurt your plants. To use either one, just mix a few drops of the oil with water in a spray bottle and shake it up. Then, just spray the solution over your plants to get rid of the aphids.
The difference between these two is that peppermint oil is better at repelling aphids while neem oil is better at killing them. So, it’s a good idea to try using both of these methods so that you can get rid of the aphids and prevent them from coming back.
6. Put a Sticky Trap Near Your Plant and Wait for Aphids to Get Stuck in It
This is another great pest control method that’ll let you get rid of aphids without hurting your plants. All you need to do is put a sticky trap near your plant, wait for the aphids to get stuck in it, and then dispose of them. It’s that simple! Just be sure to replace the sticky trap every so often, because as it gets full of aphids, they’ll stop sticking to them.
7. Prune Away Infested Leaves From Plants
If you find aphids on your plants, you can try pruning away infested leaves from them. This will prevent them from spreading to other plant parts and is like cutting an infestation off at the source. Although this method is very effective, it should be treated as a last resort. After all, you can’t just prune your plants into nothingness.
8. Put Aluminum Foil Around the Base of Plants to Keep Aphids From Crawling up Them
A simple way to prevent aphids from climbing up is by putting aluminum foil around the base. They can’t really crawl up foil that easily, so they’ll be forced to go somewhere else. Plus, foil reflects the ultra-violet rays of the sun, which further repels aphids from nearing your plant. This is a great tactic that costs nothing, and you can just leave the foil on your plants as long as you want.
9. Try Using Garlic Spray
One of the most popular natural pest control methods is to use garlic spray. There are many recipes for this, but they’re all basically the same and simply require a combination of garlic and water. When you mix the two together, it creates a natural pesticide that repels aphids from your plants without hurting them.
You can either spray the garlic water on your plants or directly spray the aphids to deter or even kill them. Both are viable methods, so see which one works best for you.
10. Sprinkle Cayenne Pepper in Your Garden to Keep Aphids Away
Another great all-natural pest control method is to sprinkle cayenne pepper in your garden. Aphids don’t like the spice and will go away when they come in contact with it. Plus, cayenne pepper is safe for your plants, so you don’t have to worry about damaging them. All you need to do is buy a small bottle and walk around your garden and sprinkle it here and there.
Just be sure to reapply after a rainstorm, because the pepper will wash away.
11. Plant “Aphid-Repelling” Plants to Fend Off Bugs Naturally
If you want to get rid of aphids naturally, one option is to plant certain herbs near your house. Aphids can’t stand the strong scents these plants emit and will go somewhere else. You can choose from a wide variety of herbs, but some good ones are basil, lavender, chives, mint, and oregano. Not only are these great bug-repellants, but they’re also great for cooking, so you’ll have a lot of fresh herbs to use in your dishes.
As you can see, there are many organic gardening pest control tactics to get rid of aphids. Just by using a combination of the methods listed above, you can get rid of aphids without hurting your plants at all. Try a few of them out and see which one works best for you today.