We hate aphids……. otherwise known as plant lice. Why? Because they are not good for anything, but opening your garden to an all-you-can-eat buffet for themselves and hundreds of their friends.
Trust us, we have had experience with these little buggers, they have destroyed our gardens before, or parts of our gardens. It is so frustrating to put time, effort and even money into a garden just to feed pests. I remember one of the first years that we had this beautiful broccoli growing, then overnight, there was an aphid infestation. I walked out to my garden in hopes of picking my broccoli soon, just to find it COVERED with these things. I was horrified and angry! I wasn’t sure what to do about it then, but I didn’t want that to happen again.
What are aphids?
Aphids are plant lice. Little bugs that the only purpose is to be a bug to all. They can be green, white, gray and black. They cover your plants like crazy! They are small and sometimes difficult to see, especially the green ones that blend in with the color of your plant.
If you want to know what they look like, just do a google search for “aphids” and click on “images” for a fine smorgasbord of many types. Then be prepared to get goosebumps and willies as you investigate so that you can be aware to protect your gardens. Try not to have nightmares later….. 🙂 I guess you can really see that we don’t like these guys!
Well, we also don’t like harsh chemicals. We do all we can to grow organic gardens, and so ridding of them with commercial or chemical sprays is not exactly on our “garden bucket list!”
So, here’s 5 natural ways to get rid of them!
1. Banana Peels
Banana peels are a great way to go because, well, aphids don’t like them! They will find another all-you-can-eat buffet if they smell banana.
The best way to do this is by cutting up the peels and placing them just under the soil under the plants you want to protect. This will help repel them, but the smaller peels will also keep squirrels and other critters out as they DO like banana peels.
2. Lady bugs
Do you want to make the day, or the season for a ladybug? They will forever be indebted to you by introducing them to their next 100 meals. Ladybugs love to eat aphids and not your food. So they are GREAT to have in your garden.
You can actually buy hundreds of ladybugs at a time on Amazon HERE. They will come as the larvae and then you raise them and release them in your gardens. You could probably buy them locally somewhere too.
One thing that is AWESOME for summer season and a great learning experience for your kids, is to get the Insect Lore Ladybug Garden and let your kids learn all about ladybugs and watch them from larvae to ladybug. Then after the learning process, release them into your garden and get double benefit from your ladybugs. Our kids LOVE the insect lore kits.
The Ladybug Land kit is here on Amazon for a decent price! You buy the kit, and the ladybug larvae is not inside of the package yet, but rather a card that you send in to receive your larvae and this is included. Then you get your larvae with food when you are ready to raise ladybugs and the whole process is a couple of weeks. But it is a super fun way to get ladybugs!
Drown your aphids in a natural powder that won’t hurt your garden – flour! Plain ol’, cheap, white, ground flour! Use a flour sifter and sift it all away!
4. Cayenne Pepper Spray
Cayenne pepper is actually a natural deterrent to many garden pests, small and big! Deer, squirrels, cats….all the way down to those aphids and more hate the smell of cayenne pepper.
It also does not hurt your gardens and plants. You can sprinkle it at the bottom of the plant to deter some pests, but the BEST thing to do is to make a spray as the aphids are on the leaves and stems of your plants.
You can make your own spray easily:
– 3 TBSP of Cayenne Pepper to a saucepan
– Add 2 Cups of water and bring to a boil
– Once it has come to a boil, simmer for about 1-2 minutes and then let cool
– Once cool, you can add some dishsoap if you want. Only add a couple of drops. The purpose of this is to allow the mixture to stick to the plant to be more effective. However, use sparingly as dishsoap is not great for plants, but better than aphids. So you can try it without and if you need the cayenne pepper to stay on the leaves longer to get rid of the rest, then you can do a second spray with a tiny bit of dishsoap.
-Pour into a spray bottle and spray on the plants as needed.
– *Some also add onion and garlic to the boiling mixture (minced and ground) as onions and garlic also deter many pests and so the combo of the three foods is great for many things!
5. Manual Control
Finally, another method is a manual control of these pests. When you start to see them on your plants, take a wet paper towel and “wipe” them off the leaves and stems. You can also spray them off with blasts of ice cold water. This will require a bit more maintenance, but easy as an “instant” solution.
You can do this the first couple of times, but you might want to consider adding another natural method if this is not effective enough.
What tips do you have for ridding your gardens of aphids, i.e. plant lice?
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