Ladybugs (or Soap and Water) Are the Perfect Solution to Rid Your Garden of Sap-Sucking Aphids

Updated on October 8, 2017
Casey White profile image

Every gardener has a pest that drives them crazy! This is one in particular that we despise, and use all means to get rid of them.

Ladybugs can eat a whole lot of aphids, so let them do their thing.  They won't harm your plants.
Ladybugs can eat a whole lot of aphids, so let them do their thing. They won't harm your plants. | Source

Every Gardener Has Met These Plant-Munching Insects!

  • If you're an experienced gardener, you are probably very familiar with aphids—the small, soft-bodied insects that just love to munch on your plants. They are tiny and range in colors from yellow to red and black, with the black-bodied aphids being the most common.
  • This little critter has a white, wooly coating and lives by sucking the juices of the new growth on your plants, which damages a plant's ability to properly process food.
  • This article will show you where to look for aphids (luckily they are pretty easy to detect) and how to get rid of them.

They look large, but aphids are actually very small, and large populations of them can  turn leaves yellow.  They can also produce a sticky stubstance that turns black with moldy growth.
They look large, but aphids are actually very small, and large populations of them can turn leaves yellow. They can also produce a sticky stubstance that turns black with moldy growth.
Lots of immature aphids.
Lots of immature aphids. | Source

This Is What You Will Need

  • Yellow bowl
  • Insecticidal soap
  • Water hose
  • Ladybugs (if you don't have them in your garden, you can buy thousands of them for a few dollars)

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Extremely heavy infestation of black aphidsIf you are plagued with aphids in your garden, this little ladybug should be your new best friend.
Extremely heavy infestation of black aphids
Extremely heavy infestation of black aphids
If you are plagued with aphids in your garden, this little ladybug should be your new best friend.
If you are plagued with aphids in your garden, this little ladybug should be your new best friend.

The Solution to Your Aphid Problem

  • Because aphids love new, juicy growth, that's where you'll usually find them. If you have new leaves forming in early spring, turn them over so you can spot the aphids. If your leaves are yellow with a gray cast on them, you can just about bet that those are signs of this little pest. They will also excrete a sticky residue on the leaves.
  • There are several ways to get rid of aphids. The first being to rub an infested leaf between your thumb and forefinger and wipe them off manually. Be careful, however, not to damage the leaf.
  • If you examine your garden and find ladybugs on your plants, by all means LEAVE THEM THERE because they love to eat aphids! The same goes for lacewings.
  • You can always just wash the aphids away using a mixture of insecticidal soap and warm water. You can use this method right up until harvest time (if they are on your vegetables).
  • The color yellow attracts aphids, so try setting out a bright yellow bowl in your garden full of soapy water. The intent is to lure them away from your plants. Some nurseries also sell sticky yellow color traps that are also effective.

You can actually buy ladybugs and put them in your garden.  They will eat the aphids and leave your plants alone, so when you see one, leave it alone so it can do its work.
You can actually buy ladybugs and put them in your garden. They will eat the aphids and leave your plants alone, so when you see one, leave it alone so it can do its work.

Tips and Warnings

If you have serious aphid infestations, don't be afraid to bring out the big guns - chemical insecticides. If you spray the insecticide on your plants in early spring, when the aphids suck out the plant sap, they will die when they ingest the insecticide.

  • You could use a natural insecticide, such as Pyrethrum or Rotenone. Both are highly effective and available at most nurseries.
  • If attempting to get rid of aphids on fruit trees or vegetables, avoid insecticides during growth or harvest time.

Ladybugs sharing an aphid for lunch.
Ladybugs sharing an aphid for lunch.

Extremely Close-Up Video of Ladybug Eating Aphids

© 2011 Mike and Dorothy McKenney

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    • morgan968 profile image

      morgan968 4 years ago

      Thank you for your brilliant article, not many people know that you can use insects to beat your pest problem. Aphids are so common around the world I don't understand why people aren't using ladybugs more. Your article helped me beat my aphid problem and I also wanted to share another article which helped me beat them.

      http://thebloomingoasis.com/get-rid-of-aphids

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