Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Homemade Spray For Aphids

Protect the garden from damaging aphids with a homemade spray.

Aphids have the nickname plant lice because they're tiny (less than 1/8 inch in length), multiply quickly and spread easily from plant to plant. Commonly, aphids are pear-shaped and yellow, black or green in color. In the United States and Canada, more than 1,000 different species of aphids have been identified. Aphids suck juices out of plants and may cause considerable damage when left unchecked. Make a homemade spray to control aphid populations in the garden.

Alcohol Sprays

Alcohol sprays are not safe for all plants, because they are strong enough to damage foliage. Always spot-test a few leaves before applying alcohol sprays to plants. Wait two to three days for signs that the alcohol has negatively affected the plant before using the spray to treat aphids. Mix 1 to 2 cups isopropyl alcohol in 1 quart of water and place in a spray bottle to create an aphid-killing spray. Alcohol sprays will also treat thrips, whiteflies and mealybugs.

Plant Sprays

Collect 1 to 2 cups of tomato leaves and soak them in 2 cups of water to create an aphid-killing spray. Tomatoes and other plants in the Nightshade plant family release a toxin that aphids will avoid. Allow the leaves to soak in the water overnight before straining the liquid and placing it in a spray bottle. Spray the entire leaf of the plant, especially the undersides where aphids gather.

Garlic also naturally repels pests and kills aphids quickly. June bugs, leafhoppers and whiteflies are also affected by garlic sprays. Mince 3 oz. of garlic into very fine pieces and soak in 2 tsp. of mineral oil for at least one day. After the mixture has soaked, mix together 1 pint of water and 1/4 oz. liquid soap and slowly stir this liquid into the oil and garlic. Strain the mixture and store in the refrigerator. Add 1 tsp. of the mixture to a spray bottle of water to create an insect-killing spray.

Capsaicin Sprays

Capsaicin, a natural insect repellent, is in red peppers, dill, paprika, chili peppers and dill. Use any one of these to create a spray that will keep aphids away. Grow your own peppers to make managing aphids easy and inexpensive. Simply dry peppers or dill and grind into dust. Sprinkle the ground powder around the plants you want to protect. Wear gloves when handling peppers because they will give skin a burning sensation.

Other Sprays

Stir 2 tbsp. of soap flakes into 4 cups of water and spray it directly on plants to repel aphids. Nicotine may also be used to repel insects. In addition to aphids, nicotine repels gnats, scales, thrips and leafminers. Soak 1 cup of cigarette butts or nicotine leaves in 1 gallon of warm water to make "tobacco tea." Add 1/4 tsp. of soap and strain the mixture. Spray the tea around the leaves, stems and soil where the plants are located.

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