Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that feed on plant fluids. They have long slender mouthparts they insert in stems and leaves and suck out fluids.
Aphids attack common garden plants and several major crops. And while almost every plant has a few aphid species feeding on it, which is harmless, large populations of aphids have adverse effects on plants.
- They stunt shoots and can turn leaves yellow. can turn stunt shoots and turn leaves yellow
- Some aphid species inject a toxin, causing the plant’s leaves to curl, further leaf damage, and distorted growth.
- Some aphid species cause gall formations.
- They’re vectors of viruses, transmitting from plant to plant viruses that are even more harmful than the aphids.
- A few aphid species, such as the lettuce root aphid, attack the roots, causing the plant to wilt or die.
- They secrete honeydew, which turns into an unsightly black mass with the growth of a sooty mold fungus.
The good news is, most aphid species are managed similarly, and one effective way of eliminating aphids is using an organic garlic pesticide spray.
How Do You Make a Garlic Spray for Aphids?
All you need to make a garlic spray for aphids is cloves of garlic and water, and the quantity of garlic you use depends on how concentrated you want your spray.
For example, three cloves of garlic mixed with ½ a gallon of water make a spray sufficient for preventative measures, but for a highly concentrated spray, you can use up to two bulbs with just a cup of water.
Follow these steps to make a garlic spray:
- Peel one garlic bulb and put it in a blender. Add a cup of water and puree for about a minute until it’s finely chopped. If you don’t have a blender, a food processor or immersion blender will suffice, or you can chop or mince the garlic using a garlic press and then stir it together with the water.
- Pour the mixture into a bowl and add 3 cups of water and two tablespoons of liquid soap. Cover it and let it sleep overnight. The liquid dish soap coats the larvae and smothers them.
- Strain and put into a spray bottle. Straining ensures no garlic clogs the nozzle.
- You can add a teaspoon of crushed cayenne pepper or hot pepper while the garlic sleeps to make your spray stronger. Adding pepper enables the garlic spray to repel a wider variety of pests.
What Makes Garlic Spray Effective?
You guessed it. Garlic’s pungent smell is known to deter several creatures, and it will kill or repel many annoying garden pests, including aphids.
It’s so effective that it’ll keep away even some beneficial insects.
However, what makes garlic spray work so well is the sulfur and allicin found in garlic. By itself, garlic is a powerful fungicide but coupled with allicin, it interferes with the bugs’ sensory receptors, confusing them.
How Do You Use Garlic Spray?
Spray your plants – vegetables, herbs, flowers, or fruit – to repel aphids
Spray the undersides of leaves because most pests, including aphids, like to lay their eggs there to shelter their eggs.
If you have an aphid infestation, spray daily, and whenever the spray gets washed away by rain or from watering, re-spray. Otherwise, if it’s for aphid prevention, then spray once a week or after every few days.
What are the Benefits of Using Garlic Spray?
Unlike regular pesticides consisting of often toxic chemicals, a garlic spray contains garlic and water as the main ingredients, meaning it’s eco-friendly and green.
For a garden to be healthy, it requires a balance of beneficial bugs to keep the destructive bugs population under control. Organic pesticides such as garlic spray are eco-friendly and do maintain that balance.
On the other hand, common pesticides eliminate insects indiscriminately, throwing your garden out of balance and leaving it with no natural defense.
What is more, exposure to certain toxic pesticides poses health risks ranging from minor skin irritation or allergy symptoms to more severe symptoms such as blinding headaches, dizziness, or nausea.
For this reason, there’s reason to be wary of pesticides due to the danger your children and pets face.
A Word of Caution
Ensure you use the homemade garlic spray in moderation for the following reasons:
- While a garlic oil spray will effectively eliminate aphids and other pesky bugs, it can damage beneficial soil microbes if used in excess. Hence, avoid spraying more than twice a week.
- Though non-toxic, garlic spray can be an irritant, especially to the eyes, and more so if it contains pepper or soap.
Therefore, avoid allowing children or pets near sprayed plants. Also, keep the nozzle turned away from your face and ensure you wash your hands after using the spray.