How to Get Rid of Aphids on Houseplants
If you see aphids on your indoor plants, there are many control options, most of them non-chemical. Wash them away: Use a strong stream of water to blast aphids from your plants. You can also knock them off with your fingers or a cotton swab. This is best for light infestations. Aug 01, · 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 Author: Jennifer Noonan.
Aphids are tiny sucking insects from the insect family Aphididae. The group includes roughly 5, different species, with several hundred that may be a problem for agriculture and gardening. The most common aphids on houseplants are the light green ones pear aphidsbut aphids can also be found colored pink, white, grey and black.
Additionally, winged aphids can appear when colonies are established and fly to infect new plants. Juvenile aphids nymphs look like smaller versions of the adults. Aphid infestations tend to develop quickly, and the insects are highly mobile: they rapidly travel from one plant to another. In the outdoor garden, aphid colonies are often tended by ants, which feed on aphid honeydew — a sugary liquid that is secreted by aphids as they feed on sap. Indoors, aphids spread between plants by flying or crawling.
Aphids cause damage by sucking sap from new growth on plants. They tend to cluster at the growth end of plants and attach themselves to the soft, green stems. As a result, the new foliage may look crinkled or stunted, with the aphids usually plainly visible around the stem. If the infestation is bad how to become a dog groomer at petsmart, the plant will begin to drop leaves.
Finally, like mealy bugs, the honeydew secreted by aphids can encourage the growth of sooty mold and fungus. Outside, aphid eggs survive the winter by attaching to woody growth.
In the spring, the eggs hatch into females. Males are born in the fall and begin to mate with the females to produce eggs in preparation for the long winter. Indoors, however, there is no winter to slow their reproduction, and female aphids can continue to produce nymphs all year without pause. Thus, the aphid population can quickly get out of control on indoor plants. Like most pests, the best control for aphids is defensive. Healthy, vigorous plants are less susceptible to infestation than weak, under potted, and stressed plants.
As a general rule, if you make sure your plants are healthy, you're less likely to attract these annoying critters in the first place. If you see aphids on your indoor plants, there are many control options, most of them non-chemical.
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Final Advice for Aphid Control on Houseplants
Feb 15, · Try Rubbing Alcohol. Another more natural remedy for aphids is rubbing alcohol. Use it to kill aphids on houseplants by taking a cotton swab to dab the rubbing alcohol directly onto the bugs, or spray a 50/50 mix of rubbing alcohol and water directly on the pests. Jun 20, · 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. Controlling aphids on house plants – spraying aphids . How to Get Rid of Aphids on Houseplants with Neem Oil; Try an Alcohol Spray for Pest Control; How to Kill Aphids on Indoor Plants Naturally; Introduce Natural Predators; Add Essential Oils to the Mix; Sprinkle Some Diatomaceous Earth; Home Remedy for Aphids on Houseplants; Remove Parts or Whole Plant; Check for Other Household Pests; Kick Up the Heat with Cayenne.
Last Updated: November 18, References Approved. This article was co-authored by Lauren Kurtz. Lauren Kurtz is a Naturalist and Horticultural Specialist. There are 28 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
This article has been viewed , times. Though they can be a frustrating sight to encounter, aphids are relatively easy to keep in check, provided that you're persistent and use safe removal practices.
These soft bodied insects use their piercing mouthparts to suck sap from the leaves of plants. Remove small clusters of aphids by hand, and try selective pruning or homemade organic repellent sprays for a more lasting effect. Once they're gone, introduce beneficial new plant and insect species to your garden to discourage any pests that might be waiting in the wings from returning with a vengeance. Support wikiHow by unlocking this staff-researched answer.
To get rid of aphids, hose down your infested plant every few days for 2 weeks, focusing on the undersides of the leaves. For a stubborn infestation, mix 3 teaspoons 15 mL of liquid dish soap with 4 cups 1 liter of water in a spray bottle, then liberally spray the plants every few days for several weeks.
You can also spray your plants with neem oil or insecticidal soap, which are both natural pesticides that will kill aphids. To prevent aphids from coming back, try introducing insects that prey on aphids to your garden, like ladybugs and green lacewings.
Cookie Settings. Learn why people trust wikiHow. Download Article Explore this Article methods. Tips and Warnings. Things You'll Need. Related Articles. Article Summary. Method 1 of Learn to recognize aphids by sight. The tiny insects have rounded bodies, with long antennae and 2 slender tubes extending from either side of their rear end. Depending on the species, they may be white, black, gray, green, yellow, or even pink. Some types appear to be covered with a fuzzy, cotton-like substance when viewed up close.
Some will grow wings once their current food source is degraded and fly onto greener pastures. Inspect the underside of your plants' leaves for the insects.
Turn the leaves over and examine them closely to catch aphids in the act. Though small, they're typically visible to the naked eye. There's no better evidence that you have an aphid infestation on your hands than seeing them for yourself.
Even a small population of aphids can present a major problem for farmers and gardeners. Pay attention to curled or discolored foliage. Take note anytime your plants appear to be failing inexplicably. After long enough, the activity of hungry aphids can weaken or spread disease in once-healthy plants, causing them to look sickly.
Aphids tend to flourish during the warmer summer months. Look for the presence of honeydew to see where aphids are feeding. Keep an eye out for plant galls. Once every couple weeks, scan the plants in your garden from root to tip to look for galls. Galls are sites of swelling or abnormal growth that pop up on the outer surface of infested plants. They most often appear as a result of irritation due to insects like aphids feeding and laying eggs.
If left untreated, galls may leave the plant vulnerable to more serious diseases. Method 2 of Pick off small numbers of aphids by hand.
Pluck stray insects from the leaves of affected plants and crush them between your fingers. Aphids have soft bodies, which make them easy to dispatch with a single squeeze. If you're dealing with more than about half a dozen, it may be easier to use a damp paper towel to wipe them away. Spray the leaves of infested plants with a garden hose.
A forceful stream of water should be enough to dislodge stubborn pests. Direct the stream toward the underside of the leaves, where aphids tend to congregate. Hose down your plants times a day until the infestation starts to thin out. Regular spraying is most effective for combating small-moderate infestations on hearty, established plants. Wet foliage increases the risk of diseases like blight and rust in plants that are sensitive to moisture. Cut back the plant to eliminate large colonies.
Trim heavily-infested sections where the greatest number of aphids are concentrated. This may involve plucking leaves or fruits, clipping stems, or even removing whole branches. Check to make sure you haven't overlooked any insects on other parts of the plant. Selective pruning works best when aphids are confined to one specific section of the plant. Method 3 of Mix up a homemade soap solution. Combine teaspoons mL of mild liquid dish soap with a few ounces of warm water in a spray bottle and shake well.
Apply the solution liberally to plants that shows signs of aphid activity. The surfactants in the soap will eventually cause the insects to dry out without affecting the plant.
This solution will kill beneficial insects, too, so try to be selective when spraying plants. Mixing up a fresh batch for each application will keep your spray nozzle from clogging.
Try a blend of essential oils. Add drops of rosemary, clove, cedar, orange, or peppermint oil or create your own blend of each to a spray bottle filled with water. Mist your infested plants from leaf to root. Essential oils are naturally repulsive to aphids, so whatever bugs the mixture doesn't kill off will be in a hurry to leave. Always dilute your oil mixtures, as excessive oil left on leaves can burn your plant. Designate one spray bottle for this use, as the oil will permeate the bottle.
Purchase a bottle of neem oil. Neem oil is a plant-based oil compound that's useful for controlling aphids. The cloying oil will smother the aphids, killing them in a matter of hours. It's nontoxic and breaks down rapidly once it's exposed to air, so it won't harm you or your plants. That said, it will kill beneficial insects as well as pests, so try to be selective when you spray. Spritz your plants with an insecticidal soap. Like neem oil and other natural pesticides, insecticidal soaps are used to suffocate aphids.
These products are available at most greenhouses, plant nurseries, and outdoor supply stores. They typically come premixed, which means you won't have to worry about doing a lot of measuring. Use commercial insecticides as a last resort. If none of your other efforts have worked, or you're dealing with a full-scale invasion, it may be necessary to try a more potent pesticide.
Look for products proven to be effective against aphids. Some pesticides are sold in convenient spray bottles, while others will need to be mixed and deployed using a chemical sprayer. Always follow the instructions provided on the product label, and never use more than directed. Method 4 of Introduce beneficial insect species to your garden. Ladybugs, hoverflies, and green lacewings are just a few insects that prey on aphids.