How to get rid of aphids

Aphids are nasty little soft-bodied insects that suck the sap from plants, thus weakening them. Infestations are a nasty sight, and I couldn’t summon the guts to put up a relevant picture, because aphids make me very queasy. They’re like ants that don’t bite. Yes, I’m afraid of ants.

The (relatively) good thing about aphids, though, is that they’re fairly easy to remove. Get your gardening gloves on, and pick any of the options below:

Hose them off

Most of the time, aphids can be hosed off with a jet of water. This makes easy work of the process, and ensures that you don’t have to touch them much. Make sure you hose down the growth points of the plants, and the undersides of its leaves. You might need to repeat this a few times to completely remove the aphids. Once removed, aphids don’t return in the season.

Cellotape them off

This is an idea I came across a few months back, and I was unlucky enough to be able to try it out. You wrap some tape on your fingers (index finger to the pinky), with the sticky side facing out. Now you use your hand as a sort of lint roller, picking up aphids from under leaves, stems, and growing points. Once done, you fold the cellotape back on itself, doubly securing the aphids in place, and dispose of it.

Organic insecticides

Aphids, like most other pests, don’t like garlic, chilli, neem or other such substances much. So, simply incorporate one of these into the soil, and after a few applications, you should see the aphids hightail it. Personally, I prefer to use neem water (i.e., neem leaves boiled in water), but you can also dry and grind garlic or hot chillies to a powder. Sprinkle on the soil around the plant, and watch the aphids wrinkle up their noses and go off!

Insecticide sprays

Of course, if none of the above work, or if you simply prefer it that way, you can always opt for a store-bought insecticide. Most types will work on aphids, and a single spray ought to do it. However, unless you’re dealing with a large infestation, I would really recommend to give the options above a fair trial. Aphids are easy to get rid of, so it’d be a pity to go chemical for their removal.

My opinion

I’ve had to deal with aphids a fair bit in the past, and so far, I think the cellotape trick works the best. It’s super efficient for controlling a small infestation (like on a table-top houseplant), and the best thing about it is that it enables you to really get in there, in every nook and cranny, and get every last one out. Additionally, you don’t have to deal with a ground littered with aphids. I don’t know if it’s just me, but the thought of walking on a ground littered with them gives me the absolute creeps.

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