Homemade Organic Aphid Spray Recipe
Although aphids aren't very big (even the largest adults are usually less than a ¼-inch long), they can cause quite a bit of plant damage, particularly if their populations are large.
Deformation, stunting and stippling may all result as aphids suck fluid from leaves and buds. Often, leaves with aphid damage appear curled and discolored.
Aphids also suck sap from stems—with less damaging results. And they leave behind honeydew as they feed, a clear liquid that often produces black mold.
The majority of aphid species are general feeders; however, they're particularly drawn to new growth, and some prefer specific species of plants.
At some point in the year, most gardens attract aphids. Their populations are usually kept in check by natural predators like lacewings and ladybird beetles. However, if aphid damage becomes severe, intervention may be necessary. Contemporary wisdom advocates an environmentally-friendly approach to aphid control, one that eschews harsh poisons. One option? Organic pesticides such as garlic oil spray.
8 Safe Ways to Control Aphids
Spray strong bursts of plain water to dislodge aphids.
Grow flowering plants to attract aphid-eating beneficials.
Release aphid-eating beneficial insects like ladybird beetles, lacewings & parasitic wasps.
Treat aphid-infested plants with homemade garlic spray.
Spray plants with insecticidal soap.
Scrape aphid eggs and nymphs from leaves, seed pods and stems, and crush them.
Handpick adult aphids and crush them.
For severe aphid infestations, neem oil may be applied alternately with insecticidal soap.*
*Neem oil is a systemic botanical pesticide that sometimes harms parasites that prey on pests like aphids. If you follow a least-harm policy in your garden, use it sparingly.
ORGANIC APHID SPRAY
When properly combined, garlic cloves, mineral oil, ordinary dishwashing liquid and water create a mild organic pesticide that's effective against aphids. The spray also kills cabbageworms, larval mosquitoes, leafhoppers, squash bugs, whitefly and other garden pests. It can even serve as a mild fungicide and animal repellent.
Reasons to Make Your Own Spray
Because it isn't toxic to humans, homemade organic aphid spray is a good choice for aphid control on vegetable crops, herbs and ornamental plants in and around the home. It's also inexpensive to make—and it can be ready to use in little more than 24 hours.
The Drawbacks of Garlic Oil Spray
The primary environmental drawback of garlic oil spray is that it kills not only aphids, but also other soft-bodied insects, including beneficial ones. Ladybird beetles and other hard-shelled insects, however, are ordinarily unaffected by the spray.
Another drawback? It may cause slight leaf burn.
ORGANIC APHID SPRAY CONCENTRATE
- 3 oz. garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp. mineral oil
- 1 pint water
- 1/4 oz. dishwashing liquid
- Soak garlic in oil for 24 hours or more.
- Meanwhile, combine dishwashing liquid and water.
- Add soap mixture to garlic mixture, and stir well.
- Strain the mixture and store it in a glass container.
Directions for Use
Add 1-2 Tbsp. of homemade garlic oil concentrate for each pint of water. Then spray affected plants thoroughly.
Because the spray contains oil and soap, it may cause some leaf damage. To ensure that the mixture is not too strong, test it first by spraying a few leaves. Wait 2-3 days for any signs of damage.
About the Author
The Dirt Farmer has been an active gardener for over 30 years.
She first began gardening as a child alongside her grandfather on her parents' farm.
Today, The Dirt Farmer gardens at home, volunteers at community gardens and continues to learn about gardening through the MD Master Gardener program.
Copyright © 2012 by The Dirt Farmer. All rights reserved.
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