- Aphids are drawn to vibrant colors: reds, pinks, whites, greens, and yellows.
- There are many at-home remedies for an aphid infestation on your plants, and we’ve included two recipes to try.
- Commercial insecticides containing malathion are toxic to humans, bees, birds, and fish — so avoid those!
Roses are one of the most popular flowers in the world. So, aside from their attractive colors and lovely shapes, what makes roses special?
Well, for starters, there are over 200 types. Roses can have small petals or huge ones, a delicious fragrance or no scent. They can thrive outdoors or indoors, and some prefer hot weather while others like the cold.
Are the roses in your garden getting mauled by aphids? They’re those tiny little bugs that suck the life out of roses, along with a whole host of other plants. Read on to discover the best tips and techniques for saving those beautiful blooms from destruction.
Understand the Type of Insects You’re Dealing With
If you are not sure what aphids are, they are tiny, sap-sucking insects. They come in a variety of colors, including green, yellow, grey, brown, or black, and they can be found on the undersides of leaves. Aphids can multiply quickly, so they can become a serious problem if left untreated.
As you look at your rose bush, examine it closely for signs of aphids: look for clusters of small insects that appear to be moving around on either side of the stem, leaf stems, or underneath the leaves. If you see them, these are probably aphids feeding off the plant.
Why Do Aphids Attack Roses?
The vibrant colors of roses also make them attractive to aphids. Aphids are drawn to reds, pinks, whites, greens, and yellows.
There are quite a few reasons why aphids love the sap from roses! First, it’s sweet like honey! Second, insects need sugar to live.
However, don’t worry too much because as pesky as aphids are, they are also easy to manage with the right tools. Here are several effective ways to get rid of aphids overnight without resorting to pesticides.
1. Use Soap Spray To Kill Aphids on Contact
If you’re looking for a way to kill aphids on contact, a simple homemade spray is your best bet. Soap plus baking soda spray is a great way to rid yourself of aphids in the short term and is also safe for your roses.
The process of making this soap and baking soda spray is simple. The recipe to use on your roses is about:
- 1.5 tablespoons of baking soda
- 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid mixed
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- 1 gallon of water
Once the ingredients dissolve completely, fill a spray bottle with the mixture. Focus the spray on the foliage and especially the underside of your rose leaves where the aphids are hiding. Repeat every seven to ten days or after it rains.
2. Garlic and Chile Pepper Oil Spray Is an Effective Natural Treatment for Aphids
You can use garlic and chile pepper oil spray to kill aphids on contact or add it to your garden as a preventative measure. If you need something tonight, this is not the best recipe because it needs to sit overnight or longer to get to full strength. However, you can get instant results with just a few garlic cloves blended in water, and if you are looking for prevention or your aphid problem is temporarily under control, this is a powerful natural treatment.
Garlic and pepper oil is effective against a number of pests, big and small. To make garlic and chile pepper oil spray, add:
- 2 chopped garlic bulbs
- 5-6 hot red chili peppers
- 1 finely chopped onion
- 2 cups of hot water
Into a blender and blend it into a smooth mixture. Transfer the blended mixture into a glass container and put it into the refrigerator overnight (at least).
When you remove the mixture from the refrigerator, strain out the blended garlic, peppers, and onion through a cheesecloth. Add the remaining liquid to a spray bottle and add:
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or mineral oil (do not use olive oil)
- 2 tablespoons liquid dishwashing soap
Spray the mixture on your roses lightly from a distance of about 12 inches, taking extra care to get the underside of the leaves.
You can also do this mixture with only the garlic, leaving out the peppers and onion. In that case, just blend two to four garlic cloves in cook water and spray it directly onto your plants (no overnight wait).
The oil in garlic is a natural pesticide, antiseptic, fungicide, and insecticide. It works by repelling pests and killing them when they come into contact with it. Garlic also helps prevent fungus from entering your rose bush’s system.
3. Orange Oil
Orange oil is a natural insecticide, fungicide, herbicide, and repellent. You can buy orange oil at most garden stores or online.
You’ll want to add about one tablespoon of orange oil per gallon of water. If you are using a 16-ounce spray bottle and want to mix it in the bottle rather than in a larger container, you can use a little less than half of a teaspoon of the orange oil with a 16-ounce spray bottle filled with water.
4. Add Neem Oil or Mineral Oil to Your Water
If you’re looking for a natural way to rid your roses of aphids, neem oil is an excellent option. It’s an organic pesticide that doesn’t have harsh chemicals and can be used as a repellent. Neem oil is safe for humans and animals and won’t hurt bees or other beneficial insects.
You can purchase neem oil ready-to-use in a spray bottle. If you don’t have neem oil handy, mineral oil is another option. Mineral oil works by suffocating the aphids so they can no longer move enough to eat or reproduce.
5. Horticultural Oil or Diatomaceous Earth
If you don’t have easy access to the first four options or if your roses are really infested with aphids, there are a couple of other organic alternatives.
Horticultural oil is a natural oil that suffocates aphids. You can use it as insecticidal soap or mix it with water and spray it directly on the plant. Once applied, horticultural oil will remain effective for several weeks before needing to be reapplied again.
Diatomaceous earth is effective on a wide variety of insects inside and outside your house and is deadly to aphids. It’s not harmful to humans but should not be inhaled. To avoid any effects on you or your pets, we recommend food-grade diatomaceous earth.
You can use diatomaceous earth in two ways on your roses. First, you can spread it on the earth around your plants to protect them from ants and other crawling insects. Then, you can either sift it over the plants or create a spray mixture of one tablespoon of diatomaceous earth and 16 ounces of water and spray it on your roses.
Diatomaceous earth is highly effective but may not solve your aphid problem overnight. It can take up to a week to deliver its full effects.
Avoid Insecticides Containing Malathion on Roses Affected by Aphids
When you see your roses being destroyed by an infestation of tiny bugs, it can be tempting to go out and purchase a pesticide. However, there are many natural methods that are highly effective against aphids, and insecticides containing malathion are toxic to humans, bees, birds, and fish.
The EPA regulates the use of this pesticide. To minimize its negative impact, it should only be sprayed at night when no pollinating insects are around.
You Can Get Rid of Aphids on Your Roses – Naturally!
If you have aphids on your roses, you don’t have to sit by and watch them eat your garden. Natural control is an easy method of getting rid of these destructive pests without harming the environment.
Not sure where to start? Why not try a simple garlic mixture! Just blend four cloves of garlic in 16 ounces of water and spray the mixture right on your plants. Reapply every few days until you’re sure the roses are safe. You’ll safely and effectively get rid of that aphid infestation on your roses, overnight!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Natalja Petuhova/Shutterstock.com
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
How do you kill aphids without insecticide?
Several natural formulas will kill the aphids without harming your plants. The simplest mixture is one or two teaspoons of liquid dish soap in one quart of water. You can spray or wipe the solution onto your plants’ leaves, stems, and buds to kill the aphids.
What kills aphids permanently?
While no single solution will protect your plants indefinitely, neem oil is available at most gardening centers and is one effective method to kill aphids on your plants. The oil smothers the aphids and should work within a few hours. To use, dilute pure neem oil with water to make a 2% solution. Spray on the leaves and stems of your infested plants.
Why do aphids keep coming back?
Aphids are small bugs with short generations. Each cycle of aphids lives for 20 to 40 days, so while it seems like aphids keep coming back, it is really new generations of the tiny insects that find your host plant over again.
How did my plant get aphids?
Aphids are sometimes called plant lice because they are tiny and insidious. They are one of the most common plant pests. If your infested plants are outdoors, the aphids were probably attracted to the color or sugar content of your plant. If your infested plant is indoors, they may have come in through an open window or hijacked a ride on your clothes.
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