Aphids are nasty little critters. I had never heard of them until we started our backyard homestead and came across a community of them on our fruit trees. I knew these insects were pests when the leaves on my trees began to wither away.
What are Aphids?
Aphids are also known as plant lice and are incredibly tiny – a mere 1/10th of inch long. They typically live on the underside of leaves but really anywhere on a plant and are normally green or black in color. They have six long legs attached to a soft body with a pair of antennas.
Aphids and ants have a beautiful symbiotic relationship. You know you have an infestations when you see a colony of ants accompanying them. Aphids love to suck the sugar-rich fluids of new plant leaves. They can consume large amounts of sap causing your plant to wither and potentially kill younger trees. When the aphids excrete, their waste contains high levels of sugar known as ‘honeydew’ for ants to consume. As a thank you gesture, ants will go out of their way to protect the aphids from harm and danger. Ants will winterize aphid eggs in their ant hills and when Spring comes and the aphids hatch, the ants carry them back to a plant to feast. Nice but let’s do business elsewhere – not in my garden please.
Eliminate Aphids and Ants from Plants Quickly
The sooner you can control the infestation the better off you are in keeping your plants alive and thriving. Aphids can be very destructive, so don’t delay. Take action immediately.
There is good news… you don’t have to spend a lot of money to rid the aphids. If the population is small, first try wiping them off the leaves with a clean washcloth. If its is a bigger problem, try the homemade spray below. All you need are three common household ingredients to do the job.
The smell of garlic is pungent and a repellent for many insects and animals. Using fresh garlic will give you the greatest results. Crushing the garlic cloves first helps release the desired oils.
Oil is used to suffocate the aphids. Only a small amount is needed in the recipe as too much oil can burn the plant by intensifying the sunlight on the sprayed area.
Soap is not only slippery and makes adhering difficult, it also breaks the soft bodies of the aphids down. A little goes a long ways.
Homemade Aphid Spray
Place the minced garlic in a small bowl with the mineral oil. Allow to sit for 24 hours to infuse. Strain the garlic oil mixture reserving the oil.
Add the infused oil to 2 cups of water. Stir in the castile soap. Store this concentrated mix in the refrigerator until ready to use.
To apply mix 2 tablespoons of the concentrated formula with 2 cups of water. Pour in a spray bottle and liberally spray the plant that has an infestation. Watch carefully for the next couple of days to see if another application is needed.
Share Your Experience
Here at The Whole Kitchen we are thrilled to share with you our organic approach to growing produce and invite you to share your stories and advice. This is only one simple home remedy to control aphids. If you have another organic way of managing this pest let us know.