Aphids can become a problem before you realize what has happened to your once healthy garden. These tiny bugs sneak into your landscape and basically have a party. They eat and breed like crazy and decide they love the place so they stay. Aphids will suck the sap from your plant while also transmitting pathogens that infect your plant. Additionally, they secret honeydew which grows sooty mold all over your plant and will stop it from photosynthesizing.
How to Prevent Aphids
Look At Your Plants
A big part of prevention of any pest is inspection. This should not be a problem since if you are frequently in your garden, you are undoubtedly looking at it. If you notice a little problem, do not let it become a big problem.
Aphids love new growth, so do not over fertilize. Use an appropriate amount of slow release fertilizer. Quick release fertilizer will promote a lot of new growth which generally isn't what you would want in your plants anyhow.
How to Treat for Aphids Naturally
You have aphids on your plants, now what?
Completely prune away heavily infested areas. Discard them into a bag you can seal and throw away.
Spraying your plant with a water from a pressurized nozzle will knock off a good number of the aphids. Aphids usually will not climb back up the plant after this. Be careful when doing this. You do not want to wash an aphid onto a nearby healthy plant.
A tablespoon of dish soap and a gallon of water will affect the aphids breathing and help fix your problem. If you have a lot of plants, there are water hose attachments that will mix a concentrate like dish soap with water for you so you can just attach it and spray your plants. Make sure to spray under the leaves since that is where most of the bugs stay.
What Pest Control Product to Use on Aphids
There are a lot of different products that can treat aphids. These can be found at any hardware store or the internet. I recommend using insecticidal soap or horticulture oil. These products are less risky than other control products. This is important to think about if you have young children or pets that frequent your garden. Another good control product are ones containing pyretherin or pyrethroid. These will work to kill the aphids on contact.