Thursday, July 28, 2011

How to Control Aphids in your Home Vegetable Garden

According to a study by the USDA, aphids rank as the top insect to do damage to people’s home vegetable gardens. You may agree with those findings. Aphids are very common throughout the world and come in all shapes and sizes. They feed on pretty much everything and when they are done feeding on a plant their young will develop wings, move to the next plant and the process starts all over.

No need to fear though as you are in luck. There are a number of ways to get rid of aphids, all of which are safe, easy to use and obtain. Some solutions you can buy, but many others you can make on your own.

Let’s start with the #1 way to get rid of aphids. Number 1, not because it is the easiest to implement or the cheapest, but number 1 because it works and that is bringing in the aphids predator. In other words another insect that will feed on the aphids. You can attract this predator by planting various herbs such as fennel or cilantro (in some cases), but the fastest way is to hit up your local garden store and buy some. The predator I am referring to are ladybugs. For about $20 you can get a few hundred to a few thousand and they eat their weight in aphids almost daily.

Another good and safe way to take care of your aphid population is to use sprays. There are a variety to choose from such as hot pepper and garlic sprays to soapy and neem oil sprays. All will work, some better than others, and if you buy one in the store expect to pay anywhere from $7 to $20 depending on the brand name, size etc. You can also make your own by doing various combinations of dish soap and water, or dish soap, baking soda/powder and water.

A third way, and the most inexpensive way, is to use yellow sticky traps. In my local home store you can get a 3 pack for $2. Hang a few around the plants where the aphids are and give it a shake. The ones that can fly will get stuck and eventually when the others start to fly they will end up there as well. Just keep in mind the yellow sticky trap does not distinguish good and bad bugs so use with caution.

The final way is to use diatamaceous earth. Without going into great detail on it, DE, is a safe way to control pests in your garden. It is fairly cheap and easy to get. The cost is about $10 to $15. The downfall of using DE is, just like yellow sticky traps, it does not distinguish between good insects and bad insects. It will affect them all. I try to use DE as a last resort if nothing else works.

Start with getting some ladybugs. That will be your best and safest bet. Within a few days after applying the ladybugs, your aphid issue should be handled.

About the Author
Mike Podlesny is the owner of Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC, the exclusive home for the Seeds of the Month Club, which has appeared on NBC, ABC and MSN Money as a great way for consumers to save money.

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  1. We did one of those lady Bug growing kits with the kids this year. If you just order the larvae, without the whole "lady bug land", you can still raise them without paying a ton (we got the "land" part, too because I found it on sale after Christmas last year for only $5!) I also kept my eye out for praying mantis egg pods in early spring when we went for walks. I put them in the garden to hatch and the little nymphs ate a TON of aphids. I can honestly say that once the lady bugs were released and the mantis hatched, I have had NO aphid problem at all!

  2. Thanks, useful tips. Found your blog via pinterst picture