Aphids can be absolute pests in the outdoor garden as well as for houseplants. Once they find a home, they can slowly suck the life away from your plants and flowers leaving them wilted and dead. Fortunately, there are several ways to send these household pests packing. In this article we will demonstrate how to rid your houseplants of aphids without damaging them.
Step 1: A Close Inspection
Closely inspecting the houseplants in a nursery before bringing them home is an excellent preventative measure. Aphids are tiny bugs less than 1/8 inch long. Their bodies are pear shaped and they have two projectiles coming from their hind quarters. If you see aphids on nursery plants, it is best not to buy them. Alternatively, ask the nursery to treat them before purchase.
Step 2: Water
Light infestations of aphids can sometimes be treated with water. Simply spraying leaves with water will shake the pests loose. If the foliage is delicate, try dipping them in water to prevent damage. In either case, plain water will help reduce the aphid numbers without harming the plant.
Step 3: Cut
Any leaves or stems that have been damaged by aphids should be cut away. This will help the plant to grow again and also take care of any possible aphid eggs that may have been laid.
Step 4: Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol will clear your plants of aphids and do them no harm at all. Simply take rubbing alcohol and pour some into a spray bottle. If you are worried, the alcohol can always be diluted down. Spray the leaves where the aphids seem to be most concentrated and let the solution dry. This should be repeated 2 to 3 times each week for about 4 weeks.
Step 5: Soap Them Out
By mixing 1 tsp. of laundry detergent or dish soap with a bottle of lukewarm water, you’ll have made a natural and homemade insecticide. Simply spray the solution onto the leaves and the aphids will soon be gone. Leave the solution on for about 1/2 hour, then rinse thoroughly to avoid hurting the leaves. This should quickly dissolve the aphids.
Step 6: Turn up the Heat
Another effective solution for aphids is to take half a bottle of Tabasco sauce plus 2 tsp. dishwashing liquid and add them to a spray bottle and fill with water. Again, simply spray onto the leaves and send the aphids packing. After a few minutes the aphids should be able to be wiped from the leaves with a cloth. Repeat this process once every week until the infestation clears.
Step 7: Use Bananas
Take a banana peel and rub the leaves. Aphids hate this and will soon relocate. This is also really good for the plants. When finished, you can cut up the banana peel and place it in the pot. This will provide some great nutrients for the soil.
Step 8: Foil
Place some aluminum foil in the bottom of the plant pots. The shiny side should remain facing up. This will create reflected light that will startle and confuse the aphids.