Aphids weaken and destroy plants by sucking out the life-giving sap from leaves, stems and fruits. Plants attacked by aphids get yellow leaves and start to wilt, slowly dying. Aphids are also transporters of viral and bacterial plant infections.
Aphids, also known as plant lice and in Britain and the Commonwealth as greenflies, blackflies or whiteflies, (not to be confused with “jumping plant lice” or true whiteflies) are small sap-sucking insects, and members of the superfamily Aphidoidea.Aphids are among the most destructive insect pests on cultivated plants in temperate regions.
- Spot the aphids. Aphid damage is recognisable by telltale signs of cottony-looking threads around new buds and leaves. Some aphids prefer older growth. Aphids are also known as “plant lice” and they hang around in bunches, making them easy to spot
- Make Organic Aphid Sprays. Create an aphid spray using a mild detergent and water, or make a soapy garden spray. Spray every two to three days over a period of a week – you must spray the aphids directly for this to be effective. You can also use garlic spray as an effective aphid controller.
- Consider using neem oil mixed with water. Or, add neem oil with OHN (garlic + ginger + molasses). Dilute the ingredients in water and spray directly below the leaves (where aphids hide). Spray repeatedly 3 times per week for a plant with serious aphid damage.
- Squash them. Provided you don’t mind quite a bit of patrolling and squishing, you can be very effective at reducing the aphid population by manually squashing them. This is labour intensive and likely you will miss some, but combined with organic sprays, this can be very effective. Wash your hands well with soap after each session, or wear garden gloves.
- Companion plant. Plant your favourite roses alongside aphid-discouraging plants. Aphids dislike garlic, chives, onions, mint, petunias. Aphids love nasturtiums. Roses grown with garlic plants or chives are much less prone to aphid attacks and both have a beautiful flower of their own during flowering season.
- Release ladybirds. Ladybirds (ladybugs) feast on aphids. You can purchase the larvae in packs online or from specialist nurseries. Follow the release instructions carefully – they should be released right near the food (the aphids) and must never be released in an area that has been sprayed with pesticides.
- Blast them with the hose. Depending on how sensitive your plant is and your water usage restrictions, you can blast aphids off the plant with the jet stream of a hose.
- Try flour. Sprinkle flour over the aphids using a sieve or flour sifter. The flour will coat the aphids and they will drop off.
- Dig banana peel into the ground. Cut-up banana peels or use dried banana pieces for this. Dig the cut-up peel or dried pieces 2.5–5 cm into the ground around the base of every plant that aphids are attracted to. The aphids will soon be gone.