How to Get Rid of Aphids — Bob Vila

How To: Get Rid of Aphids

Save a shriveling garden from aphid infestation by following these tips for removal.

Are your garden plants stunted, shriveled, yellowing, or curling at the leaves, despite your best efforts to keep them alive? Check the undersides of the leaves, and you may find the culprit: large groups of aphids and/or the sticky residue they leave behind after feeding. (Or, on plants with tightly-packed leaves like those of day lilies, aphids may take root at the base of the plant instead.) These quarter-inch-long garden pests have soft pear-shaped bodies in various shades of white, black, yellow, green, brown, or red. The bane of gardeners everywhere, they feed on the plant’s sap and literally suck the life out of leaves, stems, buds, flowers, fruit, and roots.

Aphids reproduce so quickly—we’re talking several generations created in a single season—that by the time you notice the insects on your plants, you’re likely in the midst of a full-blown infestation. Thankfully, though, homeowners can often combat the pests before major damage occurs. Here’s how to get rid of aphids and keep them from returning to wreck your plants in the future.

STEP 1: Removal

If you discover aphids your garden, follow one of these three methods to get rid of them.

Hose them down.

If you spot a few aphids on your plants, the minor infestation can be successfully banished with a strong stream of water from the hose. Run water all over the plant, making sure to target the underside of each leaf. Repeat this process every few days until you’ve successfully eliminated all aphids, which could take up to two weeks.


Spray leaves with DIY insecticidal soap.

Waging war with larger numbers of aphids? Make a homemade insecticidal soap, a low-toxicity bug control solution that will desiccate the soft bodies and kill the aphids without doing harm to your plants. Simply mix a few teaspoons of liquid dish soap with one quart of water, then spray or wipe the solution onto the leaves, stems, and buds of the plant. (Don’t forget: These bugs like to hide beneath leaves, so take care to thoroughly coat the underside of the leaves, too.) Repeat the process every two or three days for the next few weeks, until you no longer notice aphids on the plant.

Use a systemic pesticide.

If your aphid infestation is substantial and not swayed by insecticidal soap, you may need to kill them with a systemic pesticide. Consider using a product containing Imidacloprid, which will kill aphids when ingested but won’t harm pollinators like bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies (view example Imidacloprid-containg insecticide on Amazon). Mix and apply according to the manufacturer’s directions.

STEP 2: Prevention

After eradicating aphids from your garden, take measures to prevent the pests from returning. Here are three ways to deter aphids from your plants.

Introduce beneficial bugs.

Several species of bugs—like lady beetles, lacewings, and parasitic wasps—happily munch on aphids. If you provide a habitat of flowering ground covers (especially varieties like cosmos and stonecrop that supply nectar throughout the growing season), you’ll draw them to the garden and successfully keep the aphid population in check. Homeowners can also purchase these natural predators via mail-order. If you introduce beneficial bugs to your garden, do not use broad-spectrum pesticide—it will kill them, too!

Apply dormant oil.

If aphids have settled on your fruit trees, apply dormant oil (a commercial oil that controls pests during the off-season) in mid- to late-winter to kill any eggs that are overwintering (view dormant oil on Amazon). Mix the dormant oil with water in a garden sprayer, according to the directions on the packaging, and apply to the leaves, stems, branches, and trunk of the tree. Reapply per the manufacturer’s directions.

Choose neighboring plants strategically.

Oregano, chive, sage, garlic, leeks, onions, and other plants with strong scents can deter aphids. Plant these in the areas of your garden where aphids have been a problem. In addition, you can grow plants that attract aphids, like calendula and nasturtium, on the opposite side of your property; they may draw aphids away from the affected area. Companion planting is a long-term prevention measure, but it could help your aphid population diminish significantly over several seasons.

How to Kill Aphids on Flowers

By: Kathryn Hatter

21 September, 2017

Aphids are a garden and houseplant pest that will produce extensive damage to plants if left uncontrolled. Aphids damage plants by sucking sap, which causes the plant to grow improperly and become misshapen. To search for aphids on your plants, turn the leaves over and check the undersides because this is a favorite hiding place for groups of aphids to cluster together. Kill aphids on flowers with a simple dishwashing soap and water mixture.

Measure 1/2 tbsp. of dishwashing soap into the bucket. Add 1/2 gallon of cool water and mix the soap and water well to create suds. Pour the soapy water into the spray bottle and seal the bottle.

Spray the soapy water onto an inconspicuous area of the affected plants to test the reaction of the plants to the soapy water. Wait for two days to make sure no damage occurs to the plants.

Proceed with spraying the plants that had no adverse reactions to the soapy water. Spray the plants everywhere, including tops and bottoms of all leaves and the flowers.

Spray once per day for three days and assess the aphid population on your plants. Continue spraying if aphids remain or discontinue spraying if the aphids are all gone.

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Spray plants in the early morning or late afternoon. This will reduce the possibility of the sun burning the soapy water on the plant foliage. Ladybugs are natural predators of aphids. Purchase ladybugs at gardening and home centers. Some gardeners set a soapy water trap with a yellow bowl filled with soap water. The aphids are attracted to the color and the soap water will kill the aphids. A downside of this trap is the beneficial insects that will also die in the trap.

Some plants are very sensitive to soap water. When you are spraying, do not over-spray onto other plants.

Ways to Get Rid of Aphids in Your Garden: 5 Natural and Effective Solutions

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!

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.

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?

See more Gardening Gallery of Ideas HERE to easily find tips for your garden

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Lettuce Aphid Information – How To Control Aphids In Lettuce

Aphids in lettuce can be a real nuisance, even a deal breaker when lettuce is when severely infested. Most folks dislike the idea of ingesting a little extra protein in the form of a bug in their salad, and I am no exception. So what are lettuce aphids and is it possible to control lettuce aphids in the garden? Let’s find out.

What are Lettuce Aphids?

Lettuce aphids come in multiple hues ranging from green to orange to pink. The adults have black markings on their leg joints and antennae. Some have black markings on the abdomen as well, and may be winged or wingless.

Lettuce Aphid Information

Lettuce aphid information informs us about their prolific reproduction, which is definitely no boon to the gardener. Aphids are both viviparous and parthenogenic, which means the females are capable of producing living offspring without any sexual activity. Just a couple of aphids in lettuce rapidly become an infestation if left unchecked.

The problem is how to control lettuce aphids. They tend to be difficult to get at, as they are not only well camouflaged, but hide deep in the center of the lettuce on the tender, new leaves in head lettuce types. In loose-leaved varieties, like Butterhead, the insects are more readily apparent and can be viewed on the inner young leaves.

You may also see quantities of sticky honeydew and black sooty mildew.

Lettuce Aphid Control

Usually, the first thing you read about when controlling aphids is to try to blast them off with a good stream of water. I’ve tried this. Never worked. Okay, maybe it got some of the insects off, but never did much for a true infestation.

Next, I usually try spraying either a commercial insecticidal soap or one I have created out of water and a bit of dish soap. This will work somewhat. Better yet, spray with Neem oil, which will give a much better result. Spray in the evening once the sun has gone down, as Neem and insecticidal soap can damage plants in direct sun. Also, this allows the morning dew to wash off the majority of the oil by morning.

You can start your lettuce under row covers, which in theory, will work. Of course, if even one aphid gets under there, you could soon have an army sucking away on baby greens.

Ladybugs love aphids and can either be purchased or you can plant flowering annuals near the lettuce crop to naturally attract them. Syrphid fly larvae and green lacewing larvae are also connoisseurs of aphids.

You can, of course, resort to chemical controls too, but given that this is a food crop, eaten raw no less, I would steer clear. To me, if it gets that bad, I would prefer to rip the plants out and dispose of them.

Lastly, keep the area around the lettuce crop weed free to mitigate any other cozy hiding places for lettuce aphids.

How to get rid of garden pests forever

Maintain a healthy garden by following these tips to keep pests under control

By Charles Dowding

7:00AM GMT 10 Mar 2015

Just when you think you have a pest under control, a new one appears, or the weather encourages an explosion of numbers. There are some common pests I have not encountered, so apologies if your worst bugbear is not mentioned below. (I suggest you ask the neighbours how they cope, since pests tend to congregate according to local conditions.) My remedies are based on painful experience, so I know they work.

Slugs and snails

In Britain’s damp climate, slugs and snails are the most common and difficult pest, except in dry eastern areas and on sandy soils.

Slugs eat by night and need moisture by day, so reduce their daylight hiding places. Keep edges and borders tidy, weed thoroughly, remove old and decaying leaves, and don’t grow slugs’ favourite foods (such as lettuce and zinnias) close to walls or overgrown edges.

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Water less often but more thoroughly, and in the morning, so that soil surfaces are dry for longer.

In mild, wet conditions you can reduce numbers significantly with a torch and knife, at dusk or dawn.

Leave a wooden plank on the soil: slugs will collect underneath it by morning, when you can lift it up and remove them.

Traps need attention and serve a limited area. They reduce numbers, however, whereas barriers do not Many barriers are less effective in the wet, when you need them most.

Avoid metaldehyde pellets except in extreme weather when just one or two per plant is enough. Never sprinkle lots on soil as you are then poisoning wildlife. Organic slug pellets are less poisonous but still cause harm, from their chelating agents. If you can’t manage without pellets, grow plants that are less susceptible to slugs – perennials rather than annuals.

Walk the plank: leave wood in the garden to collect slugs and snails (Alamy)

Butterflies and moths

Prevention is possible where blocks of susceptible vegetables are planted together, using a cover of white mesh or 5mm black netting, which must be in place by early June. A snag with mesh covers is that they hide and even encourage weeds; also, they keep out insect predators.

Fly away: prevention is key to keeping out butterflies and moths (Alamy)


They come in all colours, suck plant sap and leave sticky residues. Mild winters allow aphids to survive and lead to difficult springs, when there is an interval between aphid numbers increasing and the arrival of predators such as ladybird larvae. Water aphids off leaves in early spring until predators increase. Dot French marigolds and Californian poppies among vegetables to encourage predators such as hoverflies.

Easy prey: encourage predators to reduce aphids

Leek moth

Leek moths are rarely seen, but leave a legacy of massacred leeks. Damage is barely noticeable at first in August, as the maggot-like caterpillars chew on baby heart leaves in the centre of plants. But there is no new growth, then long gashes appear on outer leaves.

By October the caterpillars have turned to pupae and most leeks can recover, but have little time to grow large. One remedy is to cut stems just above ground level in August, but I find this more damaging than leaving plants alone. Covering with mesh in June, straight after planting, is the only safe option I know. Failing that, grow a late variety such as ‘Bandit’ (sow April, plant by early July), which puts on new growth in early spring, when pests are absent.

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To catch a thief: keep out leek moths by covering plants


These ugly soil larvae, from eggs laid in early autumn by craneflies, are most damaging in spring, mainly in lawns where they eat grass roots. There were record numbers in 2014.

This does not mean they will be as prevalent in 2015, after a drier autumn and colder winter. The only control is nematodes, which have to be watered onto the soil in August at a cost of around £20 per 40 sq m. The need to keep soil moist for a fortnight afterwards makes them a less attractive option.

Grass roots: leatherjackets are found in lawns (Nigel Cattlin / Alamy)


You are a lucky gardener if pigeons are not pecking at your brassica leaves, peas and salads. Game birds also eat holes in many vegetable leaves, sparrows ravage baby chard and beet leaves, while rooks uproot tiny broad bean plants for their seed, and onion sets in search of worms. Black net covers are the most secure and quickest way to protect vulnerable plants. Most beds can be covered with 4m-wide netting, and mesh also protects from wind.

Back of the net: keep vulnerable plants covered (Toby Houlton / Alamy)


Rabbits’ favourite leaves are young and tender, and top snacks are salads, brassicas and alliums. Cover transplants with fleece or mesh for a month or so, unless you choose the long-term solution of rabbit fencing.

Rabbit food: cute to look at, but rabbits wreck young plants (PetStockBoys / Alamy)


Deer take mouthfuls of heart leaves and strip leaves off larger plants, often killing them. They prefer beets, chard, runner bean, chicory, endive, soft fruit, roses, tulips, many evergreens and tree bark. Six foot fencing is necessary where they are endemic; mesh or net covers offer some protection for borders.

4 Natural Remedies to Get Rid of Aphids on Roses

Aphids, specifically rose aphids, can damage your beautiful roses by feeding on the sap of the plant. Use these four remedies to get rid of them quickly.

How to Get Rid of Aphids

1. Attract or Buy Ladybugs
Ladybugs love to feed on aphids. If you aren’t able to attract any native species then you can buy live ladybugs online. Sprinkle these beneficial insects around the rose bush.

2. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth
This natural powder will kill aphids by piercing the bug’s exoskeleton. Sprinkle some food-grade diatomaceous earth around the base of the plant and the underside of leaves.

3. Spray with Diluted White Oil
White oil can kill aphids by blocking their breathing pores. To make white oil, pour two cups of vegetable oil and half a cup of actual soap into a jar and give it a good shake.

4. Spray with Dish Soap Solution
Mix two drops of dish soap with a liter of water. Spray the dish soap solution thoroughly on the rose bush. Be sure to use organic soap and not detergent soap.

Note: the soap may damage the bush if the solution is too concentrated. For method #3 and #4, test the white oil solution or dish soap solution on one or two leaves to make sure the concentration isn’t strong for the rose bush.

Also, you may want to only use method #3 and #4 when it isn’t too hot or sunny outside. These methods may cause leaf scorches if the weather is too hot.

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Sam Choan is the Founder of Organic Lesson. He started this site to share tips on using natural remedies at home when such options are available.

How to get rid of aphids on houseplants

Follow our advice to rid your houseplants of pesky aphids.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.

Do To do in January

Do To do in February

Do To do in March

Do To do in April

Do To do in May

Do To do in June

Do To do in July

Do To do in August

Do To do in September

Do To do in October

Do To do in November

Do To do in December

Pests, especially aphids, breed rapidly in our warm homes, so check your houseplants regularly to prevent a major infestation.

Aphids use their probing mouthparts to tap into the stems, leaves and flowers of plants, extracting the sugary sap. This weakens infested plants, and can spread viral diseases between them.

Aphids enter the home through open windows and doors, on cut flowers or on newly purchased house plants. A single female can produce thousands of young, so it’s important to act quickly if you spot even just one. There are many easy ways to control aphids, so keep your eyes open and be ready to act.

Discover how to get rid of aphids on houseplants, below.

If you find any aphids, quickly isolate the affected plant from its neighbours.

You Will Need

  • Spray bottle full of water
  • Insecticides (chemical or organic)
  • Secateurs

Step 1

Inspect plants for aphids, paying particular attention to the undersides of leaves and the stem tips. Also look for tiny, white shed skins and for stickiness on the leaves or surrounding surfaces, caused by aphids expelling excess sap.

Step 2

If you find any aphids, quickly isolate the affected plant from its neighbours. Use a spray bottle filled with water to blast away any visible aphids, or rub them off using your fingers.

Step 3

Keep a close watch for further outbreaks. If aphids reappear, consider spraying with an insecticide for indoor plants, following the pack instructions. Always take houseplants outside when applying chemicals.

Step 4

If you prefer not to use chemicals or if the infestation is severe, take cuttings and dispose of the original plant. Choose stems or leaves that are unaffected, snip them off with clean secateurs and wash off any aphids.

Step 5

Look for signs of viral infection on any plants with aphids. Symptoms vary, but often include leaf discoloration, yellowing and distortion. There is no cure, so dispose of affected plants – don’t take cuttings or compost the plants.

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