Aphids often appear out of nowhere in spring and attack the young leaves and shoots of many plants with their piercing-sucking mouthparts. Read here which home remedies help against aphid infestation.
Aphids make life difficult for many gardeners every year, because they are one of the most common plant pests. Within a very short time, the yellow, green, reddish or black insects can grow into huge colonies and damage the leaves and young shoot tips of many plants with their piercing-sucking mouthparts. In addition, aphids often transmit dangerous pathogens – especially viruses – when they suck. For this reason, you should not take an infestation of fruit trees lightly.
However, there is no need to resort to the “chemical club”. There are many inexpensive and organically produced home remedies that have proven effective in combating aphids.
If individual plants are infested, it is often enough to spray the pests with a sharp jet of water or to brush them off with your fingers. As flightless aphids are not very mobile, the chance of a new infestation is very low.
In the case of a more severe infestation, homemade broths, decoctions and teas made from various wild plants that are particularly rich in certain minerals are particularly suitable. Used regularly, they are not only effective against various diseases and pests, but often also provide the plants with important minerals.
With the following home remedies you can combat aphids on your plants effectively and in an environmentally friendly way.
The classic: curd and soft soap
Probably the best-known household remedy in the fight against aphids is the so-called soft soap or potash soap, which is also the main ingredient of many shaving soaps. The soap does not contain any excess grease and also does not contain any fragrances, dyes or thickeners. Shower gels and other soap-based personal care products, on the other hand, often contain microplastics and other additives that are harmful to the environment and may not be well tolerated by some plants. They are therefore not suitable for controlling aphids and other plant pests.
For an effective home remedy against aphids, dissolve 50 grams of soft soap in one litre of warm water and pour the cooled, liquid soap solution into a suitable spray bottle. Now spray the affected plants.
Tip: If there is a heavy infestation of aphids, the spray can be intensified in its effect with a little alcohol or spirit. For the additional effect, you need two teaspoons of alcohol or spirit, which are simply stirred into the soft soap solution.
An extract from stinging nettles is also a successful home remedy for combating aphids. To make an extract, soak 100 to 200 grams of fresh leaves in a litre of water for two days. Sprayed pure, it is effective against the pesky animals. Important: Do not let the extract stand for too long – otherwise it will start to ferment and become so-called nettle liquid manure. This strong-smelling liquid must never be sprayed undiluted on the plants.
Control with oregano
Every amateur chef knows and uses the popular kitchen herb. But it is not only good for cooking: Oregano contains many substances that are effective against aphids. The spray is easy and quick to make. You only need 100 grams of fresh oregano or alternatively 10 grams of dried oregano. Pour the leaves with boiling water like a tea and let the broth steep for 15 to 20 minutes. Then strain the plant residues and dilute the decoction with water in a 3:1 ratio. Now you can apply the remedy against the pests.
A broth made from tansy can be prepared for post-blooming in autumn. To do this, soak 500 grams of fresh or 30 grams of dried herb in ten litres of water for 24 hours. Then dilute the broth with 20 litres of water and finally apply the tried and tested household remedy to the diseased plants.
A wormwood tea not only helps against aphids, but also against various sucking and eating pests. For the tea, 100 grams of fresh or ten grams of dried wormwood leaves (Artemisia absinthium) are brewed with one litre of boiling water and strained through a fine sieve after 24 hours. You can use the tea undiluted against aphids in spring and summer.
Field horsetail liquid manure
To make a field horsetail liquid manure, you need one kilogram of fresh or 200 grams of dried herb, which is soaked for 24 hours in ten litres of cold water. Dilute two litres of the liquid manure with ten litres of water and water or spray your plants with it weekly. Caution: Field horsetail liquid manure is only effective against aphids in the early stages or as a preventative measure.
One kilogram of the fern foliage is mixed together with ten litres of water. The broth can then be sprayed undiluted against aphids and is particularly suitable for indoor plants. Since bracken is very rich in potassium, the broth strengthens the plants as if it were a fertiliser.
Onion and garlic tea
Onions and garlic are real all-rounders! The popular spices help many houseplants with a pest infestation. A helpful home remedy against aphids can be made from 40 grams of chopped onions or garlic cloves together with five litres of boiling water. Let the mixture steep for at least three hours and then strain it. Spray your plants with the undiluted broth every ten days. By the way, this mixture also helps against various fungal diseases.
Another method is to chop garlic into small pieces and press them into the soil. The aphids are deterred by the scent. Here it is important that the pieces of clove are deep in the soil so that the room is spared the strong smell. If the plant is already infested with aphids, however, this method no longer helps.
Rhubarb leaf broth
A broth made from rhubarb leaves helps against the black bean aphid (Aphis fabae). Boil 500 grams of the leaves in three litres of water for half an hour, strain off the liquid and apply it to the infested plants several times a week with the help of a sprayer. The broth also acts as a fertiliser for the plants.
Skimmed milk or whey
If aphids are discovered early on tomato plants, a litre of skimmed milk or whey is suitable as a preventive home remedy. Diluted with four litres of water, the mixture is applied to the plants weekly. In case of a heavy infestation, this method is not a sufficient control agent.
Black tea also helps against an infestation of aphids. To use tea as a home remedy against aphids, pour two tea bags of black tea over one litre of boiling water. The tea should steep for at least 15 minutes. Fill the cooled tea into a spray bottle and spray the plants from all sides with it.
Tobacco broth: Effective, but forbidden
An old, very effective household remedy is tobacco broth. In the past, 50 grams of tobacco were boiled with about one litre of water and the tobacco residue was then strained with a cloth. The cooled broth was then sprayed on the infested leaves and young shoots. The nicotine contained is a very strong neurotoxin and reliably kills aphids. Since the 1970s, however, the use of purchased and home-made preparations containing nicotine as insecticides has been banned in home gardens.
These home remedies against aphids are ineffective
A wormwood liquid manure, unlike wormwood tea, does not kill the pests, but merely confuses them with its strong and pungent odour. Vinegar also does not kill aphids directly, but only prevents an infestation, as the parasites shy away from acid. In addition, you have to be very careful with the dosage, because the strong acid also attacks the leaves if the concentration is too high. A nettle liquid manure has a stimulating effect on young plants when used as a watering treatment. It also strengthens weakened plants, but does not help to combat existing pests.