Aphids are small, wingless insects that adhere to plants and cause damage, weaken the plant or spread disease. This tiny insect multiplies quickly, but with preventative measures and home remedies, aphid infestations can be controlled. Homemade insecticide sprays can kill aphids on plants without hurting the plant itself.
1. Aphid Basics
Aphids are small, green or black soft-bodied insects that attach to plants and suck nutrients. Only about a tenth of an inch long, this insect is pear-shaped with long antennae. Small populations of aphids generally only cause damage to the leaves in plants, but larger populations can stunt plant growth. A larger concern of aphids is that they can carry disease from one plant to another.
2. Simple Aphid Control
Check your plants at least twice a week for aphids. Because the insect is so small, you will need to get close to the plants and check carefully, including the undersides of leaves. If you notice an aphid infestation, you can use a wet cloth to wipe them off your plants. When done regularly, this can help reduce a moderate aphid problem over time. Beneficial insects, such as ladybugs, can also help keep aphid populations under control.
3. Homemade Aphid Insecticide
A natural homemade insecticide can help control an aphid problem without causing harm to your plants, your pets or your children. A spray made from soaked tomato plant leaves or garlic cloves is effective at killing aphids and can be easily made at home. Simply soak the leaves or cloves overnight in water, and spray onto the affected plants early in the morning. Adding a squirt of dish soap to the mixture will help adhere the solution to the plants. Spray the plants twice weekly until the problem subsides.
4. Prevention Methods
Preventing aphid infestation is simple and will limit the need for additional aphid control methods. Aphids are attracted to fertilizers with high levels of nitrogen, so don't use more than necessary and consider using a time-released product. Aluminum foil mulches repel aphids and protect certain plant from transmitting diseases they carry.
5. Cautions and Considerations
While homemade natural sprays shouldn't harm most people, be cautious of those allergic to the ingredients, particularly children. Homemade sprays may also kill beneficial insects, so use the spray mindfully, and stop use when you see an improvement.
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