How to Get Rid of Aphids Naturally

by Truman Perkins

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!

Know Thy Enemy – The Aphid

Thy Enemy Aphid
Thy Enemy Aphid

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!

Signs of an Aphid Infestation

  • Visual appearance. Inspecting your plants regularly may be your best chance to stop them before they cause a lot of damage. Since they are small and sometimes match your plant’s plants’ folia, theylor, they can be challenging to spot. Check the underside of leaves and tender new growth and stems. Those are the favorite hide-outs of these pests.
  • Sticky substance on the plant. Aphids bi-product is a secretion of a sticky substance, also referred to as honeydew. This secretion is apparent at first, but because this honeydew prevents the plant from absorbing light, it will form fungus. This fungus will have a black sooty appearance that will become more visible. This fungus will be determinantal to your plant’s health as wealth; it will need to be cleaned off or trimmed to prevent growth and further damage after the aphids have been controlled.
  • Yellowing or Curled Leaves. If an aphid infestation has gone unnoticed or on tender or young plants, you may notice signs of yellowing and curled leaves. A complete plant inspection will need to identify if you have an aphid issue and are treated immediately.
    Ants Follow Aphids
    Ants Follow Aphids

  • Ants! Although not as common to see inside the home. Ants like to feed on the aphid honeydew because of its sweetness. They will follow and protect the aphid population because they become a food source.

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.

Get Rid of Aphids Naturally

Get Rid Of Aphids Naturally
Get Rid Of Aphids Naturally

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.

Method 1: A Sticky Situation – A Simple Tape Method

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:

  1. Make a tape loop ring that fits on the end of your finger or fingers—connecting each end with the sticky side out.
  2. Rub it all along the plant stems, both sides of leaves.
  3. You may need to replace the tape loop several times to keep it practical and give you plenty of space to grab the aphids.

 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.

Method 2: Path of “Leaf” Resistance – Water Spray 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.

How To:

  1. If you create a container plant, protect the pot’s soil from overwatering before doing this method. You can do this by wrapping plastic loosely around the pot’s top and the plant’s stems. This will help reduce the amount of water that saturates into the soil. I will often use a trash bag with a couple of holes popped in the bottom to allow for water drainage. Set the container inside and secure it loosely around the plant stems.
  2. It is taking the plant outside or placing it in the shower. Use a strong spray setting on the hose or shower setting. I use flat or pulse. It is strong enough to knock off aphids but not like a jet-setting that can rip or put holes in leaves.
  3. Turning the plant to the side, begin spraying all the leaves and stems, knocking all the aphids, eggs, and sticky residue from the plant. Keep rotating the plant to be sure to get all sides and areas.
  4. Remove the plastic and allow the plant to dry. Watch the plant for a few days for any aphids you may have missed.

* 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?

Method 3: “DE = dead ” – Diatomaceous Earth for Aphids

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

How to Get Rid of Aphids Naturally
How to Get Rid of Aphids Naturally

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?

  1. Take your indoor plants outdoors to treat if possible. The dust can cause a mess! Also, protect your lungs; use a dust mask like these 3M 8661PC1-A Home Dust Mask, 5-Pack.
  2. Lightly mist your plants in advance. This will help the DE to adhere better to the plant. Get the leaves and stems on all sides, everywhere you want DE to stick.
  3. Using an applicator, like the one found here, Harris Diatomaceous Earth Powder Duster with 6 Inch Extension Nozzle applies to the plant stems, flowers, and both sides of leaves. If treating outdoor plants and flowers, do not get DE on the flowers or buds. Bees can be affected by the DE in the same ways aphids can.
  4. Dust the top of the soil lightly as well. This will catch any escaping aphids that try to flee from the treated plant.
  5. Return your plant inside. Avoid misting for a few days to allow the DE to do its job. Diatomaceous earth will rinse away with regular water after the aphid population has been eliminated or will wear off over time.

Method 4: The Secret of Neem – Give Them Something to Think About

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.

Applying Neem

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.

  • Mist the plant stems and both sides of the leaves. Cover the plant with neem mist but do not drench.
  • Neem is not an instant killer in most cases. Monitor your plant for 3 to 5 days. Reapply if needed.

*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!

  • A great fungicide! Use to help fight various fungus issues on your plants, including black spot, tip blight, powdering mildew, and more.
  • Fruits & Tomatoes! Keep those nasty hornworms and leafhoppers and other fruit-loving munchers away from your fruits and leaves. Excellent at repelling!
  • Soil Soak! Fungus gnat larva, grubs, and other nematodes without hurting the beneficial earthworms!
  • Extend Nitrogen Availability! Besides, in the soil, neem helps to fertilize the soil by extending the available nitrogen available for your plants.

Method 5: Splish, Splash Taking a Soapy Bath – Insecticidal Soap Spray

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.

Super Power Your Plants – And Bonus Pest Prevention Methods

Pest Prevention Methods
Pest Prevention Methods

A Healthy Body Like a Plant has High Immunity

These bonus pest prevention tips focus on your plants’ more excellent health and the adage that prevention is the best medicine.

A Healthy Plant is Far Less Appealing to Invading Pests

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.

Confine New Plants

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.

The Right Balance

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.

Fertile Ground

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!

Inspector Elite

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.

Another Great Trick is Using Sticky Traps

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.

SUPER Bonus Tip for Humidity and Warding off Vampires!

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.

  • Crush one clove of garlic in a 1-quart spray bottle of hot water and let sit overnight
  • Use this the next day to mist your plants and give them their humidity shot and resistance against sapsuckers and other insects.
  • Most bugs, especially aphids, detest garlic. This will keep them away and will not harm your plants.

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!

Happy Gardening!

Related Post

About Truman Perkins

Truman Perkins has worked as the SEO consultant for over a decade; there he's helped so many startups and friends' sites get off the ground. Believing gardening is a natural stress reliever, Truman indulges in learning and writing about gardening in his free time. He lives with his wife, Jenny, and their twins in Detroit, Michigan.

Thoughts on "How to Get Rid of Aphids Naturally"