The Essential Oil You'll Want To Reach For To Kill Aphids

Aphids are very common pests that find their way to your garden and can also colonize on your houseplants. While there are over a thousand different types of aphid, they all have certain qualities in common. They are very small, oval-shaped, and often somewhat fuzzy in appearance. Most aphids are monophagous, which means they only eat one food source, and are often named specifically for the plants they like to eat (such as cabbage aphids, or English grain aphids). Once aphids appear on your plants, they can reproduce quickly, and soon you'll have an infestation on your hands. It's a good idea to check the undersides of your plant's leaves regularly, especially in conditions of stress like drought or heat, as such stress can attract aphids.

There are a few simple remedies you can try for removing or deterring them, including sprays made with dish soap or aspirin. Some essential oils can kill them on contact, including lemon essential oil, so making a simple spray can get rid of your aphid problem quickly. The strong smell is distasteful to them, which will cause them to disperse, and the chemical constituents will also kill them quickly.

Using lemon essential oil to deter aphids

Using lemon essential oil to kill aphids and their larvae is fairly simple. Just make a spray by adding the essential oil to some water in a glass spray bottle. A ratio of 10-15 drops of essential oil to a pint of water should be sufficient. Be sure to shake the bottle gently before using. Then spray it onto the undersides of leaves where aphids have gathered. It should kill them on contact and prevent their larva from maturing. Gently brush the dead aphids and larvae from the leaves with gloved fingertips, or by gently spraying water on them with your hose nozzle. They should wash off fairly easily.

If aphids are an ongoing problem, you can also add a few drops of dish soap to the spray mixture before using it on your plants. The oily texture of the soap will cause the spray to stick to the leaves, providing extra deterrence in between applications.

You can also add other essential oils to this mixture for additional effectiveness. Essential oils of rosemary, peppermint, and eucalyptus are also very effective deterrents against aphids. Aphids are repelled by the smell of these oils and should leave your plants alone. Reapply the spray after a rain shower, to keep aphids from returning.