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Sprays & Dusts for Getting Rid of Aphids
Aphids can make can wreak havoc on your garden and make a pleasurable activity very frustrating. These tiny pests don’t often kill plants, but they can damage them and stunt their growth.
This page will help you to understand more about this pest and show you how to get rid of aphids so you can purge your garden of the destructive pests.
How To Get Rid of Aphids
How To Kill Aphids and Prevent an Infestation
As with many garden pests, one solution usually does not take care of the issue. A multi-step approach is the best way to treat and prevent aphids from ruining your garden or plants.
- Check plants: Monitor plants a few times a week, especially in the rapid growth phase of the plant, to catch infestations early. Once leaves have curled, it can be difficult to get rid of the aphids since the curled leaves protect them from natural predators and insecticides. Check undersides of leaves and clip leaves from several different areas of a tree. Also check for natural predators of aphids (ladybugs, lacewings, and syrphid flies) as this may mean your aphid population can be controlled without intervention. If you see a large number of ants around your plants and crawling up your trees, this is a good sign there are aphids present. Ants ward off natural aphid enemies, so ant control is an important aspect of aphid control.
- Biological Control Methods: Parasitic wasps (small wasps that are harmless to humans) are the best for killing aphids. They lay an egg inside an aphid, where the larvae eat the aphid from the inside. Ladybugs eat aphids whole, and you can purchase these wholesale, but they can dissipate quickly. Natural enemies work best in small yards and are great pest killers in a garden.
- Natural Control Methods: A strong stream of water sprayed on a hearty plant or tree will knock aphids off and wash away honeydew. The aphids will be unable to return to the plant. Pruning new infested growth and removing badly infested plants can reduce populations. Aphids on house or other small plants can be removed by wiping leaves with a damp cloth. Some essential oils can also be effective aphid controllers. Natural botanical insecticides are also available and can be extremely toxic and must be used with care.
- Insecticidal Control: There are products available that are effective in controlling aphid populations, especially good when other methods alone are not working and many use natural ingredients to accomplish the control. Insecticidal soap damages the protective coating of soft-bodied insects, leading to dehydration. Aphid sprays with horticultural oils smother the insects on contact but certain oils must be used at certain times, so always read package information.
Remember, when using any insect control products, make sure your plants will not be damaged. Many times beneficial insects are also killed or repelled by many remedies, including natural ones (like garlic or capsaicin) along with chemical-based insecticides.
Pictures of Aphids
Here are some Aphid pictures to help you recognize them:
Biology and Life Cycle of Aphids
Aphids are an eighth of an inch long with soft, pear shaped bodies. Depending on the type, they can be green, yellow black, gray, or red. They can have transparent wings, but wingless are more common. They have very distinct tube-like structures coming from the rear of their bodies called cornicles. These distinguish them from other insects.
The life cycle of an aphid is very quick. It only takes one or two weeks for an aphid to complete its lifecycle. Females usually reproduce asexually, usually to more females. Males are produced only by some species in the cooler months. Aphid populations can explode very quickly; a female can give birth to up to 12 live young a day and it only takes 7 to 8 days for a nymph to become a reproducing adult. At 80 young a week, this population can get out of hand very fast.
Aphid Hosts and Damage
Aphids are commonly found on garden vegetables like beans, cabbage, melons, cucumber, peas, potatoes, pumpkin, squash, and tomatoes. You will also find aphids on roses and hydrangeas, and trees like ash, birch, elm, linden, maple, oak, and walnut. They remove the sap from their host plant which results in curled, puckered, or yellowed leaves. They can stunt the growth of plants and make them lifeless and limp.
Some species of aphid create galls, while others inject toxins while they feed. They are too tiny to induce any bites. They excrete a sticky substance called “honeydew” from excess sap they cannot digest. This honeydew can cause a black, sooty mold to grow on it, and also attracts other undesirable insects such as ants, flies, wasps, and bees.
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