Aphids rank number one on the list of most hated plant pests for most gardeners. The pesky little insects love almost any kind of plant or vegetable which makes them really hard to avoid. Aphids are very small and can be either a milky white or light green color. They can quickly destroy a healthy plant, but fortunately they are easy to control.
It’s always a good idea to carefully inspect your plants from time to time. As with any other pest, the quicker you start treating your plants for aphids, the better you chances are of saving the plant. Aphids can spread really fast and if one plant is infected they can end up on all of your other plants as well. Aphids literally suck all of the nutrients out of the plant, but they also spread plant viruses that are deadly to the plant.
There are some simple natural ways to get rid of aphids. Spray the entire plant with a water hose to wash away as many as possible. Let the plant dry completely and then start treatment. One very effective treatment for aphids is a simple soap and water mixture. Combine about 3 tablespoons of dish washing liquid in a gallon of water. Spray the plant thoroughly making sure that you spray the both sides of the leaves and the stem.
Generally within about an hour of treatment with soap spray, the aphids will all be dead. It’s fairly safe to leave the soap spray on most plants. However, some plants such as melons, African violets and cucumbers will suffer from leaf burn if the soap is left on the plant. To be safe, you can rinse the plant with water after the aphids are dead. The soap spray won’t last long, so you’ll need to repeat the process often.
If you are growing hot peppers in your garden you can use them to get rid of aphids. Sprays made with hot peppers are very effective in controlling aphids. Garlic is another excellent source of pest control. You can make a spray solution by combining 4 hot peppers, a few garlic cloves and a quart of water. Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly in a blender and spray the mixture on your plants.
Aphids hate the smell of basil which makes it a really good plant to add to your garden to deter aphids. You can plant basil all around your garden to prevent an aphid infestation. Not only will your plants be aphid free, you can also use the basil in your favorite dish. Fresh basil adds a flavor that you just can’t get from store bought spices.
Ladybugs love to dine on a gourmet meal of aphids. You can attract these natural predators to your garden by planting some of their favorite plants. Morning glories and Angelica’s are both great plants to bring ladybugs into you garden. Some garden centers even sell ladybugs specifically for pest control. It’s recommended that you have around 100 ladybugs for each 1,000 square feet of space.
The best defense against aphids is to spend some time in your garden and pay close attention to your plants. Aphids secrete a honeydew substance that ants love to eat. Often, you will see the ants begin to multiply in your garden before you see the aphids. Inspect your plants regularly and if you see ants, you might want to double check your garden.
Written by Connie Corder for HouseplantsForYou.com, Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved