5 Reasons Not To Use A Natural Vinegar Aphid Spray on Roses

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A natural aphid spray of vinegar will kill aphids on contact. However, a vinegar spray is NOT an organic method we would recommend.

We would never spray roses with a diluted vinegar solution to control aphids. We share 5 reasons below.

aphids feeding on rose bloomPin

What You Will Learn About Vinegar and Aphids:

5 Reasons NOT To Use Vinegar To Kill Aphids On Roses

Close-up of aphids on a budding rose.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @nuskygn
  1. Potential Plant Damage: Vinegar contains acetic acid. While effective against aphids, it can also harm roses and other plants if used too often or in high amounts.
  2. Weak Better Organic Aphid Control Option: Beneficial bugs and insects, neem oil spray, insecticidal soap, and parasitic wasps outperform vinegar.
  3. Risk of Leaf Burn: Spraying a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water on roses could impact plant health.
  4. Environment Impact: When vinegar gets into the soil, the acid can hurt the tiny helpful bugs in the soil and damage other garden plants.
  5. Not A Long-term Gardening Solution: Vinegar can help control aphids for a short time. It does not remedy the aphid problem. The aphids keep coming back.

What Is An Aphid?

An aphid is a small, soft-bodied insect pest that feeds on plant sap. Aphids are part of the Aphididae bug family, which is in the order Hemiptera.

Other sap-sucking bugs in the order include whiteflies and plant-scale insects.

Aphids feeding on a plant, pear shaped body, long antennae, tube-like structures called - cornicles - on their abdomen.Pin

Aphids are usually less than 1/4″ inch in length. These pests have different colors, like green, brown, black, or others, which vary based on the type of aphid.

Their bodies are shaped like a pear. They have long antennae and two tube-like structures called ‘cornicles’ on their abdomen.

Aphids can reproduce fast! They damage plants in three main ways:

  • Stunting growth
  • Deforming plant leaves
  • Can carry and spread plant diseases

Why Do Aphids Go Near My Roses?

Bees or butterflies, as pollinators, are drawn to roses because of their fragrances. Pests, like aphids feed on plant sap in your plants. Beetles, aphids, and mites feast on roses ruining your garden’s stability.

If only a few sap-sucking aphids drink a plant’s juices, you might not see extensive damage. Aphids, when present in hundreds or even thousands on a plant’s stems, leaves, or growing tips, can consume more sap than the plant can produce.”

Dr. Louis Pyenson (Entomologist), author of “Fundamentals of Entomology and Plant Pathology”

Aphids covering a rose flower budPin

How To Prevent or Get Rid of Aphids on Roses Without Vinegar

Vinegar will kill aphids. However, there are other effective methods that you can also consider. Below are some better, safer options on how to get rid of aphids on roses.

Diatomaceous Earth

  • Diatomaceous Earth, or DE, is a natural product, a powder. The dust kills aphids, also known as plant lice, by cutting into their hard outer bodies and drying them out. You can use this dust to guard your rose plants by putting it around them or even directly on the aphids. More on Diatomaceous Earth.

Neem Oil

  • Neem Oil is a potent essential oil derived from the neem tree. Natural Neem Oil is one of the best, most effective, organic ways to kill aphids. Neem makes a great aphid spray for roses.

    Neem disrupts the insects’ hormonal system and does not harm the plant. This disruption leads to the aphids’ inability to reproduce. Mix Neem Oil with water as directed on the label and spray it on your affected rose plants. Neem is also a great option for getting rid of aphids on indoor plants.
colony of aphids up close sucking up plant sap with their piercing mouth parts.Pin
  • Garden Hose: Using a garden hose can sometimes be an easy solution. If you spray a strong stream of water, you can get the aphids off your plants and decrease their number. But remember, be gentle so your plants don’t get hurt when you’re doing this.

Insecticidal Soap

  • Insecticidal Soap: People who like organic gardening have used insecticidal soap to get rid of aphids for decades. It helps kill bugs with soft bodies. Here’s how you make it:

Beneficial Insects

  • Beneficial Insects: Using helpful bugs is a great way to control aphids on your roses without chemicals. Ladybugs, lacewings, and tiny wasps are all good bugs that help keep aphids under control in the garden. Ladybugs are voracious aphid eaters, consuming up to 50 aphids daily.
 Ladybugs are voracious aphid eaters who consume up to 50 aphids daily.Pin

When you use these aphid prevention methods, always reapply as needed. Also, don’t forget to follow the rules on the product label you pick. Using these other ways to stop aphids, you can keep your rose garden free of bugs.

Aphid Spraying Tips

When you spray to kill aphids, make sure to cover more than just the tops of the leaves and petals.

Cover the entire plant! Don’t forget about the undersides of the leaves and the stem, where aphids like to hide.

Aphids and Ants a Mutualistic Relationship

Did you know that aphids and ants have a mutualistic relationship? However, the relationship between the aphid and the ant can be harmful to roses.

Ants and aphids have a mutualistic relationship that can be harmful to roses.Pin
  • Aphids make a sweet stuff called honeydew, and ants love eating it.
  • In return, ants keep aphids safe from predators and parasites.
  • When ants protect aphids, it can lead to large aphid populations on rose plants.
  • These sap-sucking pests suck juice from plants and can hurt the leaves and flowers.
  • The ants farm the aphids and spread them to other plants in the garden.
  • Keeping ants and aphids in check keeps rose plants safe and the garden healthy.
  • Stop ants from reaching the aphids with sticky barriers, neem oil, or vinegar.
aphids feeding on an orange rose bud.Pin

The Drawbacks of Using Vinegar for Aphids on Roses

The vinegar solution is for short-term or infrequent use. The acidic properties of vinegar are enough to kill aphids and the aphid eggs. If you use the spray too much, it may damage or kill your roses.

If you have no other options to battle aphids on roses, take caution when using a vinegar aphid spray. Some rose varieties may be more tolerant than others, but you should always play it safe.

If you must, below is a simple homemade aphid spray with vinegar recipe using 4 ingredients. Use with caution!

What You Need To Create The Natural Aphid Spray Vinegar Soap Spray Mixture

Items Needed:

  • Distilled White Vinegar
  • Water
  • Spray Bottle
  • Liquid Dish Soap

Mix It Up

  • Pour one quart of water into a bowl.
  • Add one tablespoon of liquid dish soap.
  • Pour 12 ounces of distilled white vinegar into the bowl.
  • Once you combine all the ingredients, fill the spray bottle with the mixture.

If your plant is in a pot, spray the pot as well to keep any aphids from reinfesting your roses.

Spray potted roses to keep any aphids from reinfesting your roses.Pin

How To Use Vinegar to Kill Aphids On Your Roses Without Spraying

By now, I hope you don’t spray vinegar directly on your roses. Here is an alternative way to use vinegar without causing potential harm to your roses.

  • The vinegar will not be touching your roses’ leaves, stems, or petals.
  • It is another way to kill active aphids.
  • It saves money on buying harmful pesticide sprays.

Here is what to do:

  • Fill a yellow bowl with ⅓ cup of distilled vinegar.
  • Place the bowl near your roses, as close to the center of the aphid infestation.
  • Aphids have a natural attraction to the color yellow, which is why sticky traps are yellow.
  • Many will head towards vinegar and die.

Frequently Asked Questions About Vinegar and Aphids

At What Temperature Do Aphids Die?

Aphids are sensitive to temperature changes. Different aphid species will survive in differing temperatures. One study subjected juvenile aphids to 95° degrees Fahrenheit (35° C) for four hours.

Aphids on a budding plant.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @799sphotos

The results? The heat-treated aphids lived. However, the heat sterilized the aphids so they could not have babies.

How low the temperature must go to kill aphids is debatable. Some report sustained temperatures below -14° degrees Fahrenheit are needed. But the aphid eggs will still survive.

How Well Will Vinegar Kill Aphids?

Vinegar is effective and works very well at getting rid of aphids. The vinegar kills the aphid when it comes into direct contact with the pest. It is always recommended to use vinegar with caution.

What Is the Best Time To Start Spraying Insecticides For Aphids in the Spring?

The best time to start spraying insecticide in the spring for pest control depends on the temperature. Few gardeners know that temperatures affect the appearance of pests, including aphids.

infestation of aphids feeding on rose flower budsPin
  • As temperatures rise, insect activity and pest numbers increase.
  • Aphids begin hatching when average temperatures reach 50° degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The aphid enemies don’t hatch until average temperatures reach 60° Fahrenheit.
  • Aphids can get a head start of ten days or two weeks because of this.

Learn more in our article on When To Apply Pesticide Spray.

Is Apple Cider Vinegar Better Than Regular White Vinegar in Aphid Control?

No strong evidence supports using apple cider vinegar over regular white vinegar for aphid control. Both types contain acetic acid, the key component in eliminating aphids.

Apple cider vinegar has a less pungent odor, which may make it more appealing for some users.

Can You Use Essential Oils Like Peppermint to Kill Black Aphids or Green Aphids on Roses?

Peppermint oil is known to have insecticidal properties. The oil can be used to repel or kill certain types of pests, including aphids.

Close-up of green aphids on plant stem.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @vio_in_the_garden

Peppermint oil is known to have insecticidal properties. This essential oil is used as a repellent or to kill certain types of pests, including aphids. The success can vary if an infested plant has lots of aphids or a different type of aphid.

Watch out! This essential oil can hurt beneficial insects and plants if not mixed with enough water. It’s wise to ask a bug expert or a plant expert. They can tell us the best and safest ways to remove aphids on rose bushes.

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