How To Kill Aphids On Outdoor Plants

What are those tiny green insects on your plants, exactly? They most likely are aphids! Here are our top recommendations for eliminating aphids from your yard.

What Are Aphids?

There are aphids in every garden, it seems. They are tiny, soft-bodied insects that feed by sucking liquids from plants that are rich in nutrients. They can drastically weaken plants in huge numbers, damaging blossoms and fruit. Since aphids proliferate quickly, it’s critical to eradicate them before they may begin to reproduce. One season can produce numerous generations.

The good news is that aphids typically move slowly and may be managed with careful attention.

Identifying Aphids

Since they are so small (adults are under 1/4 inch), aphids are frequently difficult to see with the human eye. Different species might have appearances that are white, black, brown, gray, yellow, bright green, or even pink! Some people could have a fuzzy or waxy coating. The nymphs (young aphids) resemble the adults; they have pear-shaped bodies and lengthy antennae. The majority of species have two tiny tubes, referred to as cornicles, extending from their tail end.

When populations are overcrowded, most species can generate wingless adults, allowing the insects to move to other plants, reproduce, and establish new colonies when the quality of their food is compromised. Aphids often feed in huge groups, although occasionally you may find them alone or in a small number.

While aphids generally feed on a wide range of plants, some species may be specialized to particular plants. Bean aphids, cabbage aphids, potato aphids, green peach aphids, melon aphids, and fuzzy apple aphids are a few kinds.

What Does Aphid Damage Look Like?

According on the species, nymphs and adults attack leaves, stems, buds, flowers, fruit, and/or roots in order to consume the plant juices. Most aphids prefer succulent new growth in particular. Some, like the green peach aphid, consume a wide range of plant species, but others, like the rosy apple aphid, are only interested in one or a small number of plant hosts.

  • Look for leaves that are yellowing, curlying, stunted, or malformed. Aphids love to lurk on the undersides of leaves, so be careful to look there.
  • The presence of a sticky material on the leaves or stems suggests that aphids may have been consuming sap. Other insects, like ants, may be drawn to this “honeydew,” a sweet liquid produced by the insects as waste, which attracts other insects and which the ants gather for sustenance. Aphids that feed on trees may drop honeydew onto roads, patio furniture, cars, and other surfaces.
  • Sometimes the honeydew can promote the formation of sooty mold, a fungus that gives branches and leaves a black appearance.
  • Aphids that feed on flowers or fruit may distort or deform them.
  • On roots or leaves, certain aphid species induce galls to develop.
  • Aphids can spread viruses between plants and draw ladybugs and other insects that feed on them.

How to Get Rid of Aphids

  • A strong stream of water sprayed across infected plants may help to flush out aphids in some cases. They frequently are unable to return to the same plant.
  • Aphids can be controlled with neem oil, insecticidal soaps, and horticultural oils, but these products must come into touch with the pests in order to be effective. Make sure to adhere to the application guidelines listed on the packaging.
  • By wiping or misting the plant’s leaves with a moderate water and dish soap solution, you may frequently get rid of aphids. For two weeks, soapy water should be reapplied every two to three days.
  • In one variation, cayenne pepper is added to the soap-water mixture: 1 quart of water, 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap, and a dash of cayenne pepper should all be combined. Before spraying on plants, do not dilute.
  • Aphids can be dried out using diatomaceous earth (DE), an organic substance that is non-toxic. When plants are in flower, avoid using DE since it will kill pollinators like bees and butterflies if they come in contact with it.

How to Prevent Aphids

  • Spray dormant horticultural oil on fruit or shade trees to eradicate aphid eggs that have overwintered.
  • Aphids will be eaten by beneficial insects like ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps. By creating a setting with a variety of flowers and foliage plants, as well as access to water, you can entice these insects to your garden. Online orders for extra populations of these insects should keep the aphid population under control from the outset.
  • By attracting aphids away from the plants you truly want to grow, companion planting can help prevent them from ever getting near your plants in the first place. For instance:
  • Catnip keeps aphids away.
  • Mustard and nasturtium are highly attractive to aphids. As aphid traps, place these near more expensive plants. These plants will probably be targeted by pests before your cherished tomatoes. (Continually inspect your trap plants to prevent aphid populations from spreading to your prized plants.)
  • Nasturtiums help keep aphids away from broccoli by making fruit tree sap unpleasant to them.

Hose them down.

If you notice a small number of aphids on your plants, a forceful stream of water from the hose will effectively eradicate the infestation. Water the plant well, paying special attention to the underside of each leaf. It can take up to two weeks to successfully eradicate all aphids, but repeat this procedure every few days until you do.

Spray leaves with homemade aphid spray.

waging conflict with more aphids? Create a homemade insecticidal soap for low-toxicity pest control that will kill aphids and desiccate their fragile bodies without harming your plants. Simply combine a couple of teaspoons of liquid dish soap with a quart of water, and then mist or wipe the mixture on the plant’s leaves, stems, and buds. Don’t forget to completely spray the underside of the leaves as well because these pests like to hide there. For the following few weeks, repeat the procedure every two or three days until you no longer see aphids on the plant.

Use a systemic pesticide.

If your aphid infestation is severe and not controlled by insecticidal soap, you might need to use a systemic insecticide to eradicate them. Use a product that contains imidacloprid, which won’t affect pollinators like bees, hummingbirds, or butterflies but will kill aphids when consumed. All of the following chemicals are effective against aphids and may help eliminate them from plants in your garden:

How can I prevent aphids from attacking my outdoor plants?

Aphids are ready to pounce as soon as your preferred flowers or veggie plants sprout. Up until fall, they will remain on the stems and undersides of the leaves, sucking up the sap until the plants wilt and die. They produce a sticky material called honeydew that ants love to consume. If honeydew is left on the plants, it frequently turns black due to a fungus called sooty mold. When spreading viruses from plant to plant, aphids might serve as a conduit for the pathogens. Aphid prevention and control options are plentiful, which is a blessing.

Most garden plants can get infected with aphids, also known as plant lice. They are little (up to 1/4 inch long) soft-bodied insects. Some aphids only infest one kind of plant for the whole of their lives, while others attack several different kinds of plants throughout the season. Green aphids are the easiest to recognize by most gardeners, but black, brown, yellow, and gray aphids are also widespread.

How to Prevent Aphid Infestations

Observe your plants. Check your plants periodically for the presence of aphids beginning early in the season, giving careful attention to plants you’ve previously discovered aphids on. Aphids are most active in warm or hot weather, and they frequently inflict the most harm to plants in late spring. Non-woody, blooming plants like zinnias, dahlias, cosmos, and asters are their preferred targets for infestation.

2. Look out for ants. To gather the honeydew that aphids make, ants enjoy to “farm” them. Aphids may be present if you notice a lot of ants hanging out around your plants.

Third, grow onions. The fragrance that members of the onion family emit repels aphids. In your garden, use chives, flowering garlic, and flowering onions to deter aphids.

4. Don’t fertilize your plants excessively. Aphids adore plants with soft, lush growth and high nitrogen levels for food. Use a slow-release fertilizer, which distributes nutrients gradually over time, whenever you can to feed your plants.

5. Recognize the issue quickly. Any branches that are infested with aphids can be cut off or hosed down with cold water if you identify the problem early.

Natural Predators

Another strategy for controlling aphid and other insect pest populations without resorting to chemical pesticides is to use natural predators. Aphids are consumed by a variety of predatory and parasitic insects, as well as spiders. Aphids are consumed by a variety of insects, including ladybugs, ladybug larvae, army beetles, hover flies, predaceous midges, big-eyed bugs, lacewings, parasitic wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, spiders, and assassin bugs. There will be a lag between the appearance of aphids and that of predators because they do not enter the garden until there is a food source there.

Controlling Aphids

There are a variety of chemical control alternatives available for every part of your yard if watering your plants isn’t working or your aphid infestation has gotten out of control. Use Ortho Insect Killer Rose & Flower Ready-To-Use on your roses and ornamentals. Use Ortho Insect, Mite & Disease if you have aphids in various parts of your garden and landscaping. For modest projects, use the 3-in-1 Ready-To-Use, and for bigger jobs, use the Ortho Tree & Shrub Fruit Tree Spray. Use Ortho Insect Killer Flower & Vegetable Garden Dust if you’d rather use a garden dust. Before applying, always make sure your plant is listed on the label and always abide by the usage instructions.

Does vinegar eliminate plant aphids?

In addition to eradicating ants and aphids, vinegar is also better for the environment. With this natural remedy, aphid pests can be controlled while maintaining a healthy garden for beneficial insects like bees and ladybugs.

While the majority of commercial pesticides cannot guarantee the safety of bees and other pollinating insects, vinegar is a natural alternative and is thus not damaging to our ecosystem.

In addition to protecting our bees, vinegar is a remedy that the majority of us already have at home. This makes it an affordable, readily available solution in a time of urgency.

What causes aphids on plants outside?

Did you know that most gardens have some aphids present? These common insects don’t do much damage to healthy plants, and helpful insects like ladybugs aid in their population reduction. When things go awry, typically when plants are stressed by dryness, bad soil, or overpopulation, aphids become more of a nuisance. Aphids may also reproduce incredibly quickly in the correct garden circumstances, building up a large, voracious colony in a matter of days that can practically suffocate your plants. Knowing when to act and having the appropriate strategies in your back pocket to get them under control are the keys to dealing with these tiny but deadly pests.

Soap and Water

The simplest technique to create a natural aphid killer spray for that aphid infestation is to dilute a few teaspoons of liquid dish or insecticidal detergent in a pint of water. Fill a spray bottle with the water and soap combination, grab a dish sponge, and go outside to your garden.

Your first instinct might be to use the dish soap spray bottle carelessly on all the plants in your garden. However, doing so will also eliminate any helpful insects in addition to the aphids.

Instead, lightly wash the plant leaves with the sponge after spritzing the sponge with soapy water to remove aphids without harming your beneficial insects. Make sure to look for eggs and larvae underneath the plant’s leaves.


Olive and mineral oil are the two major components of liquid soap, which is a multipurpose all-natural product. Creating a homemade natural aphid spray with vinegar, water, and other ingredients. Future garden pests are deterred from infecting your fresh growth by the vinegar.

The Japanese species of aphids you are attempting to eradicate or the beneficial insects you want in your garden—vinager, like dishwashing detergent, is fatal to all insects. Lightly mist the tops and bottoms of the leaves with a spray bottle.

  • Liquid soap, 1 tablespoon
  • 1/fourth cup white vinegar
  • 14 liters of water

Neem Oil

Aphids, cabbage worms, and other pests can be repelled with pure and organic Neem oil, which can also help manage any fungi the bugs introduce into your garden. Simply combine liquid dish soap, five cups of water, and Neem oil for plants.

Use a garden hose sprayer to sprinkle your garden with the combination in the early hours of the morning after diluting the Neem oil. Neem oil helps to repel aphids, mosquitoes, and other pests while having no negative impact on beneficial insects.

Spray this solution on all of your plants, from the roses and milkweed at the foot of trees to the tomatoes and cucumbers in the food garden, to deter aphids and other bothersome insects. Your plants will be grateful that you got rid of those life-stealing pests!

What eliminates aphids the best?

Aphid bodies that have been mummified have been parasitized. The circular hole in the upper left mummy is where the parasitic wasp (center) has come out.

Aphids are tiny, soft-bodied insects that pierce stems, leaves, and other fragile plant components with their long, thin mouthparts in order to extract fluids. Aphid species that occasionally feed on plants can be found on almost every plant. Although it might be challenging to tell one aphid species from another, most aphid species can be managed similarly.


Depending on the species and the plants they feed on, aphids can be green, yellow, brown, red, or black and have soft, pear-shaped bodies with long legs and antennae. Some species secrete a waxy white or gray material across their body surface, giving them the appearance of being waxy or fuzzy. The hind end of the majority of species’ bodies protrude a pair of cornicles, which are tube-like structures. Aphids can be distinguished from all other insects by the presence of cornicles.

Aphid adults typically lack wings, however most species can also be found with wings, especially during periods of high population or in the spring and fall. When the quality of the food source declines, the pest has a method to spread to new plants thanks to its ability to create winged offspring.

Aphids are sometimes encountered alone, but they often feed in large groups on stems or leaves. Most aphids don’t move quickly when startled, unlike leafhoppers, plant bugs, and some other insects that may be mistaken for them.


Aphids produce a lot of offspring each year. In California’s temperate environment, the majority of aphids reproduce asexually for the majority of the year, with mature females giving birth to live offspring—often as many as 12 per day—without mating. Nymphs are the name for young aphids. Before they reach adulthood, they molt, shedding their skin around four times. No pupal stage exists. Some species develop sexual forms that pair and lay eggs in the fall or winter, giving them a more resilient stage to withstand bad weather and the lack of leaves on deciduous plants. Sometimes aphids lay these eggs on a different host, usually a perennial plant, in order to survive the winter.

Many types of aphids can mature from a newborn nymph to a reproducing adult in seven to eight days when the climate is warm. Aphid populations can grow quite quickly since each adult can produce up to 80 young in just one week.


Aphids that feed on leaves in small to moderate numbers rarely cause harm to trees or gardens. Aphids can also produce significant amounts of honeydew, a sticky fluid that frequently turns black with the development of a fungus called sooty mold. However, high populations of aphids can cause leaves to turn yellow and stunt shoots. A poison that some aphid species inject into plants results in curled leaves, which further stunts growth. Gall formations are caused by a few species.

On some ornamental and vegetable plants, aphids can spread viruses from one plant to another. Crops like bok choy, squash, cucumber, pumpkin, melon, bean, potato, lettuce, beet, and chard are frequently contaminated with viruses spread by aphids. The viruses stunt plant growth by curling, yellowing, or mottling leaves. Infection occurs even when aphid populations are very low; it just takes a few minutes for the aphid to spread the virus, whereas it takes a significantly longer time to kill the aphid with an insecticide. Losses can be substantial, but they are difficult to prevent by eliminating aphids.

Some aphid species prey on plant components besides leaves and shoots. The spring and summer attacks of the soil-dwelling lettuce root aphid cause lettuce plants to wilt and occasionally perish. This species frequently relocates to poplar trees in the fall, where it spends the winter in the egg stage and emerges in the spring with leaf galls. The woolly apple aphid feeds on the woody parts of apple roots and limbs, frequently close to pruning wounds, and if the roots are infected for a number of years, it can lead to overall tree degeneration. Carrots with severe crown and root aphid infestations may have weakened tops that break off after harvest.