Aphids are tiny bugs that tend to appear early on lettuce plants and brassicas. They look like tiny dots on the back of the lettuce leaves or clustered around the stems. They can vary in color and may be black, brown, yellow, white, or grey, depending on the species. Aphids attack the plant by sucking out sap from the plant’s leaves or stems.
The best thing to do once you spot these is to intervene as quickly as possible. Here are 3 ways to get rid of aphids naturally:
1. Shoot ‘em!
With water that is. Check your lettuce and brassica plants often. Once you spot aphids go get yourself a spray bottle and fill it with water. You can use your hose as well but I like how the spray bottles have a more direct shot. Just spray the aphids directly. A lot of the time this is enough to knock them off and if you are persistent it will take care of the problem. I have also added a tiny bit of dish soap to the water bottle and have had success with that as well.
2. Cut ‘em!
If the aphids get out of control before you have a chance to intervene it might be best to cut or trim the leaves or plants that are most affected. You can clip off the stems or leaves that have the most aphid clusters and throw them in with your yard waste. If you are able to toss most of the aphid clusters you can then use the first method for any remaining affected areas. If its at the end of the season you may want to consider pulling out the whole plant and disposing of it in order to prevent the aphids from overwintering.
3. Eat ‘em!
Okay, to be clear, I don’t want you to eat the aphids. BUT, you know who does like to eat aphids? Ladybugs! Sometimes the best offense is a good defense…or something like that. Before you even get aphids you can be proactive and attract ladybugs to your garden and they will do the dirty work for you. Ladybugs are attracted to pollen plants. There are many you can plant, but one of my personal fave is marigolds. These flowers will attract ladybugs and also help deter other naughty garden pests.
Just keep in mind that this is more of a long term solution. It can take a while to develop the right little ecosystem within your garden that will attract the right kind of bugs and critters to help maintain and eradicate pests. If you have aphids now, like right this second, start with one of the first two tips.
Best of luck to you. What other methods have you had success with in getting rid of aphids? Comment below and share!