For many a garden is quite sacred. It can provide for quite a sight to behold. A majesty of one’s toils and hard works beheld for all men who visit to see and to appreciate as much as you do. It’s an escape, maybe a way of appreciating the gift on nature, it’s maybe a hobby or a form of exercise whether it be problem-solving or physical. For whatever reason, you have a garden or do your own garden, maybe even just own a few plants in the house or around the house sometimes infestations for aphids will make you scream with rage and this post exists to give you a helping hand – to soothe senses with some natural solution to an Aphid problem in the garden.
We focus mostly on the use of essential oils, in particular peppermint oil. Other natural solutions are elaborated on further along with a predation-based solution which is really cool. There’s a whole circle of life vibes thing going on there. Hope you enjoy and find this useful.
How to identify them
The little green bugs on your plants are most probably aphids. These are small and soft-bodied and tend to rapidly multiply. The type of damage they cause can be identified by effects such as yellowing of leaves, curling or stunted leaves. If the leaves or stem are covered in a sticky substance this may also be a tell-tale sign signifying the presence of aphids in your garden or on your plants. Aphids are also known to cause gulls to form on leaves or roots.
Aphids are known as the greenfly or the blackfly. These little bugs are capable of what scientists call telescopic development. This is an animal’s ability to reproduce without having their ovum fertilised. What makes the aphids so cool though is that they basically give birth to female young ones that are already technically pregnant as well. Most aphids feed on only one plant species, the technical term for this is monophagous. This makes these sap-sucking bugs mainly crop pests.
They feed passively on the sap of phloem vessels in plants. They mostly choose a plant by scent and later taste. All this makes them quite a problem for a garden and the plants you are trying to grow. In this article, we will discuss ways to repel these aphids away from your garden or plants outside or inside mainly focussing on the use of essential oils to do such.
Natural treatment for aphids
Since an aphid likes picking one plant specie, getting rid of them isn’t too hard. One of the things you could do is simply dislodge them off the plants they are on with a dose of drops of cold water and they’d find it quite hard to get back to the plant they were at. Do this for all the plants where you can find these bugs. Several drops or an ice-cold spray out of a spray bottle will really do the trick. They don’t like this.
You can also try constipating the pests by throwing large swaths of flour around the garden. This will surely deter them away and is ideal if there is a large invasion and afterwards you could selectively remove them by using the cold-water method highlighted above.
Dish soap is known to work and is relatively safe on plants. Spray your plants with water mixed with a few drops (maybe 5 drops per 50 ml) of dish soap. You can make this by just using a spray and your usual dishwashing soap. Using cold water in this solution will be a bonus.
Neem oil in a spray can also be really useful at repelling these bugs. You can simply buy this online.
Aphids also have natural predators like Lady Bettles, green lacewings, and bug-eating birds. Attracting either or all of these proves to be quite an effective arsenal in your tool kit. You can attract birds by making little birdhouses for them and the green lacewings can be purchased online or at a nursery.
You can also pinch or prune off the affected areas of your plant thereby preventing a further spread and making it hard for them to reproduce.
Diatomaceous Earth is known as a good long term solution to this pest problem as it provides long-lasting protection. It’s been said to “kills by scoring an insect’s outer layer as it crawls over the fine powder” and it is not toxic.
Essential oils can also be used to get rid of insects like aphids, in fact, they seem to be the de-facto that many use as they are so effective. It’s been purported that they can mess with some insect’s nervous systems and are ideal to repelling quite a few insects. In the case of aphids, they block out their ability to smell their way around, deterring them away from your plants. We discuss what an essential oil like peppermint oil and many other oils can do to help you deal with them.
Essential oil repellent
Essential oils such as peppermint, clove, rosemary and thyme are known to repel aphids. One can mix about 5 drops of each in water and a spray bottle. You can use this solution on the aphids themselves and the affected plants.
Peppermint spray for roses and other plants
Using peppermint oil is harmless to most plants, in fact, it comes from a plant itself. Not only does it repel aphids, but also many other plant pests. Ideally, apply the peppermint in the evening or in the morning. You can mix it with dish soap and water when you’re using it without the other non-essential oils mentioned above. Its subtle fragrance is known to confuse most insects by masking what they use to find stuff and navigate (pheromones). In fact, ants use this to coordinate and transfer roles – imagine what it could do to ant colonies. It’s like switching off the internet (actually worse).
Other bugs that respond to this home remedy
Ants don’t like essential oils at all, here’s an excerpt from what I once wrote about this:
several others like citrus, eucalyptus, and peppermint oil have been proven to be effective against ants. The working theory of their effectiveness is based on the fact that these oils come from plants that have evolved to ward off ants in nature, and naturally the scent they produce effectively does exactly this. You can place these in containers that allow the scent to be released and in places where you expect to find ants, or generally where you’d prefer they not march around like cabinets.
Cockroaches also don’t like these oils since they often give out pleasant smells useful for relaxation – these smells can get really strong and a cockroach may not necessarily be a fan. Essential oils which have been reported to work well are Tea Tree Oil, Mint (one can even buy mint fume machines that releases minty scents constantly), Peppermint, Catnip, Lavender Oil. Use these by spraying them around the house, or a fume machine that may release these or a similar scent.
Though many of the proposed solutions are natural and generally safe, be sure to keep these ingredients out of children’s reach and out of your pet’s way too. Aphids are generally not a too difficult pest problem to deal with but if it does persist, using a local pest control solution or calling in experts may really be your best bet and they probably do this for a living and they know what they’re doing. As is noted, it’s important to keep a diversity of bugs to continue the circle of life in your garden and a variety of plants won’t really hurt either.
You can do both by planting the right kind of plants like the clover, mint, dill, fennel, and yarrow which provides for a good garden and attracts other species which are predatory to aphids. Other plants like catnip, garlic, chives, onion, and allium are natural aphid repellents and are thus useful to also keep around. It is important to note that though roses are really beautiful, Aphids love them just as much as you do so you need to tread carefully when it comes to these.