reviewed by Truman Perkins
I think one of the worst pests to deal with in my indoor or outdoor garden must be APHIDS! I will present you with five ways that describe how to get rid of aphids naturally, emphasizing natural aphid control for you and your plant’s benefits that I use.
These horrible little sap suckers try to drain the life out of your innocent plants. They seem to come out of nowhere. One day you see one, the next a thousand! They multiply quickly and leave massive devastation.
Aphids need to be addressed quickly and efficiently with the least amount of harm done to your plants and their long-term health. Many synthetic methods and harsh chemicals can cause more damage than good and turn your edibles into toxins.
Using these organic methods will solve your aphid infestations without causing risks to your health. Natural ways presented here are also pet safe, so you do not need to worry that you will be harming your furry or feathered home friends.
Plus, Super bonus pest prevention methods will keep aphids and other garden pests at bay and turn your plants into professional pest fighters!
I liken these little pests to plant vampires. They have a single fang, a straw-like snout, that functions like a sap-sucking straw. When they lock unto your plant, they use this to feed off your plants’ liquid life.
Aphids, otherwise known as plant lice, are minor pear-shaped true bugs with soft bodies. They can be a variety of colors. I see the green ones the most myself. They can also be black, yellow, orange to reddish, white, or grey.
As the host plant becomes overpopulated in its adult phases, aphids can grow wings so they can relocate. It makes me think of Dracula transforming into a bat. This makes the spread of these little pests quick and almost inconspicuous.
Female aphids have a fantastic 12 offspring a day. Of those 12, the female can bypass the egg stage and produce live females. This usually happens in a warmer environment and when food is prevalent.
One female can have 80 to 90 new aphids a week! You can see how this can quickly get out of control!
Having an aphid population forming on your plants is terrible, but did you know in addition to their sap-sucking devastation, they can also transfer plant diseases. As they pass from plant to plant, they carry the virus, disease, and fungus issues they pick up along the way. They can quickly decimate a garden!
⇒ For more information on this nasty little pest, you can explore this article on Wikipedia here.
These five methods are listed in an order that you should address based on the first signs of aphid infestation. If you have a discovered these pests a bit late, you may need to ship the order to get the fastest result for the severity of your situation.
They are also the least harmful to your plants to the most potential for causing alternate damage. These are natural organic methods, but if they are done in extremes and all at once, you could cause more harm than the aphids.
All these methods are deemed safe when done correctly and following instructions!
These methods combine well with method one, the tape method for removing residual stragglers after initial treatments.
These soft-bodied tiny aphids come off very quickly with a bit of sticky tape to grab hold of them. You can use scotch tape or transparent tape, or similar. I wouldn’t recommend a strong adhesive like duct or Gorilla tape.
You want it sticky enough to grab the bugs but not grab your plants.
I also like to cut strips off of lint roller tape. It is a gentle enough adhesive, and the white color allows me to easily see what I have captured from the plant.
Tape Method Steps:
Aphids are soft and squishable. There are many I know that will smash them on the plant when they see a couple. I Do Not do this! If you squish the aphid on your plant your forcing out more of that honeydew secretion on the plant and more possible disease-causing bacteria. I would much rather remove them then allow them a final shot at causing more damage.
Watch this Great video from one of my favorite Youtube channels, MIgardener, on the simple tape method.
The water spray method forces the aphids off the plants’ stems and leaves by blasting them with a strong water stream. This can be accomplished by either a garden hose or even in your shower.
This aphid removal method is ideal for naturally removing these pests from your more robust, thicker-leaved-type plants. I Do NOT recommend this on tender-leaved plants or newly established plants. Heavy complex streams of water could severely damage these tender-type plants.
Rugged leaf-type plants like those in the cabbage family, succulents like Aloe, thicker waxier leaves like hibiscus, and matured heavy foliaged plants. These types of plants will hold up well to the water spray method.
* Ensure all the aphids that come loose wash down the drain or outside. Does this inside a tub or basin allow the fallen aphids to drown?
An organic naturally occurring process for aphid and insect control in your garden. Diatomaceous earth is non-toxic to your pets and humans. Food grade DE is what I only recommend, is also consumed by people for various natural remedies and other homeopathic uses.
It is a powder, dust, and caution when using this method because inhaling it can be abrasive to the respiratory system, and a mask is highly recommended during application.
What is Diatomaceous Earth?
Diatomaceous EnsureDE is tiny fossilized remains of aquatic organisms referred to as diatoms. Their broken-down skeletal structure forms a natural substance called silica. Silica makes up 26% of the earth’s crust by weight in its various forms, DE not being the only form of silica.
It has been used since the early 1960s as a naturally occurring pesticide product to control various insects on plants and in crops. Learn more about DE and its other uses in the garden from an article here.
Diatomaceous Earth for Aphids
The soft-bodied because is no match for this refined fossilized powder power of DE. Once exposed to these sharp microscopic shards in the diatomaceous earth, the aphids’ bodies become pierced. The continued exposure to the DE dries them out and kills them. Ironically, DE is doing to the aphid what the aphids are doing to your plants.
DE is a great way to get rid of aphids naturally with a product that comes from nature!
⇒ Food Grade DE is what I recommend for natural control and a guarantee that it is safe for you and your pets. Get a full review on The Best Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth here.
How to Apply DE to Your Plants?
Neem oil is extracted from ‘s seedsan evergreen tree’s seeds in India, named the Neem tree (Azadirachta indica A. Juss). This oil has been used as an insecticide to treat multiple insects and fungicides, medicinally and even in skincare. This only emphasizes the safeness of this product.
Besides being safe for people, it is also safe for pollinators and beneficial insects, like bees; it strictly affects chewing and sucking insects. The ones are causing damage!
So, What’s the Secret?
Neem is a mind-altering hormone-mimicking agent in these damaging, causing pests. Aphids or other harmful problems that consume the neem or absorb it are affected. It blocks the natural hormones, signals the bug typically produces regular tasks, and alters their habits. They will stop eating, reproducing, mating in some cases even that they know how to fly.
Not every insect is affected the same way by Neem, but it dramatically impacts aphids. This product is also an oil, and in many circumstances, has a suffocating effect on the insects with the application. Soft-bodied aphids, tiny ones, have a hard time breathing with this oil on their bodies.
Neem oil needs to be diluted in the proper ratios to be applied to your plants. You do not want to use this product in its straight 100% form.
You can buy ready-to-use neem oil sprays that do not require mixing or diluting. I find that they can become costlier, and it helps to have a bottle of concentrated organic Neem oil on hand and a sprayer for application. It will go a lot farther and save you a lot of money, significantly impacting the need to mix the concentrate and follow the product bottle’s directions accurately. More is not better. Use the proper water-to-neem ratios; they work.
*after using neem and still a few remaining aphids, you can go back to method one – the tape method- to remove any remaining vs.. retreating the entire plant. You can also spot treat after initial treatments.
Plus, Neem has many other uses in your garden!
It is a commonplace on the internet to see multiple recipes and ideas for using a soap spray to treat aphids and other bug infestations on your plants. It’s not my aim to say they will not work because they likely will.
I do become concerned that these homemade sprays are combining ingredients that are not natural or safe. I will break out the Dawn liquid in a pinch and make my own because I know they use that in environmental cleanups. However, most dish liquids load with harmful chemicals.
Off My Soap Box and Onto Our Plants!
An insecticidal soap wash is the next course of action for those tricky tiny aphids. Not all pests react the same to soap wash, but aphids despise it. In the same comparison, not all plants are fond of a soap wash either. I find my flower plants close to blooming tend to be sensitive to soaps in the blooming areas. Use caution and research the plant to be sure they can handle this type of treatment.
Be sure the product you choose is organic; look for the OMRI certification. This is about getting rid of aphids naturally, so you do not want to end up with an unnatural product here.
⇒ Don’t use store-bought dishwashing liquid that is not OMRI certified organic and safe for you, your pets, and your plants; get an Organic product made for the job here. Safer Brand 5118 Insect Killing Soap – 16-Ounce Concentrate.
This product is concentrated and makes up to 6 gallons—more than enough to have a supply on hand whenever needed.
It is safe for the plants, you, and your pets. This one also does not leave a footprint on the environment. It causes no harm to anything but those nasty tiny aphids or other insects it is intended to treat! This product again focuses on soft-bodied insects.
Following the directions for mixing the right amounts of soap with water. Apply this product every 7 to 10 days until the insects have been eradicated!
*You can combine this with the tape method once the initial large infestations have been removed.
These bonus pest prevention tips focus on your plants’ more excellent health and the adage that prevention is the best medicine.
It is like an invisible shield against their onslaught of attack. If pests find their way to a healthy plant, they can treat and cause far less harm. Recovery is almost instant, and very little loss of foliage of production occurs.
Prevent potential issues and pests with these bonus methods as well. Keeping close tabs and following suitable plant care methods will keep problems from causing devastation in your garden.
Whenever you buy new plants or bring new plants in from outside, they need a period of confinement from the rest of your garden space. Even plants from reputable nurseries can come with unwanted pests and diseases. Monitor them for a week or two and watch for signs of issues before introducing them into proximity to your other plants.
Ensure your plants are getting the proper light, watering, soil care, and humidity. Do not leave your plants in a weakened state by neglect. Try to monitor their needs and be sure they are mating. This will ensure your plant’s health is optimum. Regularly scheduled care of your plant also keeps you checking and noticing signs of issues as well.
Supply your plants with a perfect balance of nutrition in the soil. This is especially important in container plants in the indoor garden. Artificial fertilizers can be less natural and cause salts to build up in the soil. Long-term, they could be detrimental to the health and strength of your plants. I prefer to use worm castings as a regular fertilizer and in my potting soils and mixes. They provide complete natural fertilizer that is great for all plants. Simply this – Your plants thrive with Worm Castings. Thriving plants are pest-resistant!
Regular pruning and harvesting of your plants give you inspection opportunities of your plants. Growing herbs or greens that you consume, fresh and raw tastes can also indicate plant health. Textures, crispness, and flavoring can sometimes be indicators before signs of yellowing or even insects appear. The decrease in flavor may indicate sap-sucking insects affecting your plants and draining their essence.
Often, they can attract and indicate a start of infestation before your plant is attacked by drawing them to it first.
Use sticky traps. They will alert you if pests are present when you see them in the trap and help keep them from infesting your plants.
Ok, that was an extreme title grab, but it fits. This little trick will repel Sap-sucking tiny vampire insects!
Suppose you can tolerate a slight smell of garlic in the air once a month. Here is a great little secret preventative that you can dose your plants with when you’re misting for humidity.
If you do this on a day you plan a delicious Italian meal, nobody will be the wiser!
Do you have a natural way to swear? Is this the best way to get rid of aphids naturally? I want to know! Share it below and let others know what you think!
Until the following article, Stay Pest Free!
About Truman Perkins
Truman Perkins is a Detroit-based SEO consultant who's been in the business for over a decade. He got his start helping friends and clients get their websites off the ground, and he continues to do so today. In his free time, Truman enjoys learning and writing about gardening - something he believes is a natural stress reliever. He lives with his wife, Jenny, and their twins in Detroit.