Aphids, like scale insects or other plant pests, are particularly common in the winter months. In most cases, care errors and unfavorable site conditions are the cause of an infestation. If no countermeasures are taken, aphids can multiply very quickly, spread to other plants and, in the worst case, cause the affected plants to die. Therefore, fighting is essential. The effectiveness of the numerous means that can be used to combat it varies quite a bit. Many swear by the simplest home remedies and home-made plant decoctions, while others prefer to use commercially available pesticides.

Characteristics

  • Aphids can be winged or wingless.
  • They can be green, grey, yellow or brown.
  • Depending on the species, they are between 3 and 7 mm in size.
  • They suck plant sap with a proboscis.
  • Infestation can be recognized by sticky honeydew that the lice excrete.
  • Infestation results in stunted flowers and stunted shoot tips.
  • Can occur on houseplants all year round.
  • Usually affects already weakened plants.
  • Treat infestation early.

Home remedies for aphids

Water bath/shower
off Smaller indoor plants in particular can be rid of lice with a dip in the bath, provided the infestation has not progressed too far. To ensure that the substrate is not washed away, wrap the pot and root ball in a plastic bag and seal it on the trunk. Then immerse the plant in lukewarm water for about two hours. All parts of the plant should be under water. At best, the aphids drown. After the two hours, give the plant a quick shower and remove the plastic bag.

If this takes too long, you can achieve a similar effect by rinsing off the affected plant. You also protect the substrate with a plastic bag first. Then rinse them off thoroughly with lukewarm water. It is advisable to hold the plants at an angle while you are rinsing them out, or to lay them in the tub and turn them a little every now and then so that as many pests as possible are caught. Then remove the bag again and let the plant dry out a bit if necessary.

Note: The spray method should only be used on robust plants. If they are rather filigree, they could be damaged by the strong water jet.

Before starting control, regardless of the method used, it makes sense to isolate affected plants from healthy ones to prevent transmission or spread. Regular infestation checks are recommended after each treatment.

Commercial hair dryer

  • With a light infestation, you can wipe the aphids off the plant with your fingers.
  • A standard hair dryer can also be helpful.
  • You hold the plants at an angle and blow off the lice with a hair dryer.
  • The pests should then jump off the plant.
  • That’s why it makes sense to do the whole thing outdoors.
Note: If a hair dryer is used, you should keep a sufficient distance from the plant, because a hair dryer can sometimes get quite hot. This could do more harm than good to the plant.

With coffee
grounds Coffee grounds are not only a good fertilizer, they should also help to drive away or fight pests such as lily beetles or lice. To do this, you collect old coffee grounds, which you first dry well to prevent mold. Then you spread it on the substrate of the respective plants and work it lightly into the soil. It is also possible to apply it to the substrate with the irrigation water. It may be necessary to replace the coffee grounds after a certain period of time.

solutions for spraying

Mixture of milk and water
A mixture of water and milk can also be used to combat minor infestations. To do this, mix about half a liter of whole milk with one liter of water and spray the plant with it. The best way to do this is to put them back in the bath or shower. If necessary, the whole thing must be repeated several times at intervals of 1-2 weeks.

Potato water
If not too many plants are affected, simple potato water can also help. After the potatoes have been boiled, do not throw away the water, but collect the potato water and let it cool down. Then pour through a fine sieve, this prevents the fine nozzles of the spray bottle from clogging. Now spray the affected plants with it. Again, the entire plant should be sprayed.

Spray solutions made from rapeseed or neem oil
A self-made spray solution containing rapeseed or neem oil should cover the pests with a film so that they suffocate. Neem oil is a natural substance extracted from the seeds of the neem tree of the same name. To prepare an appropriate solution, mix 5 liters of water with 90 ml of rapeseed or neem oil and spray the affected plants. These agents are mainly effective against the larvae of the aphids. Accordingly, the effect is somewhat delayed and must be repeated several times.

Tip: No matter what kind of solution you use for spraying, it always makes sense to do it in a tub or outdoors. In contrast to the living room, spray residues are quickly removed from the tub.

Soapy water from soft or curd soap
When it comes to aphid control, a soapy water solution is often recommended. It should even be able to fight a stubborn infestation. You can use either soft soap or unscented curd soap. Soaps with synthetic ingredients should not be suitable. A suitable spray solution can be prepared from one liter of water and a tablespoon of soft soap.

A dash of spirit is said to enhance the effect. Before administering the solution, the substrate should be covered again. Then the plant is sprayed thoroughly, always including under the leaves. After it has dried well, place it in a bright place for two to three days so that the soap can take full effect. After these three days, they are given a shower to rinse the dead pests off the plant. In the following days, check for pests more often and repeat the whole thing if necessary.

Note: Although soap solutions are touted as aphid control, experts often advise against it on the grounds that soapy products can cause burns on both leaves and flowers. As with other control methods, opinions differ widely on its effectiveness.

Nettle, garlic and tobacco brews
Appropriate brews not only help against various pests in the garden, but also against lice on indoor plants. If you don’t have fresh nettles on hand, you can use dried herbs, although the fresh ones are more effective. For the stinging nettle stock, pour 1 liter of boiling water over about 100 g of stinging nettles and let the mixture cool down. The nettles remain in the water for two days and are then poured through a sieve. The brew is then filled into a spray bottle and sprayed all over the infested plants until they are dripping wet.

Tobacco brew is also said to have a certain effect on lice. You can use loose tobacco or crumble a few cigarettes. Both are put in a pot and poured over a liter of boiling water. Then let it simmer until it has completely cooled. Finally, the brew is poured through a fine sieve again and the plants are sprayed with it from all sides.

To make a garlic brew, crush about 100 g of garlic cloves and pour 3 liters of boiling water over them. Let the whole thing steep for about half an hour and then strain it. Now the brew is ready and can be used. As a rule, it also has to be injected several times.

Control agents from specialist shops

Yellow boards or yellow stickers

  • Yellow boards are available in every garden supply store and are suitable for flying aphids.
  • They are suitable for fighting and very good for infestation control.
  • Yellow stickers and yellow boards do not contain any insecticides.
  • They are placed in the flower pot or loosely attached to the plant.

Beneficial insects – natural enemies of aphids
Beneficial insects can also be used to combat them, such as lacewings (Chrysoperla carnea), hoverflies (Episyrphus balteatus), flower bugs (Orius spec.), various parasitic wasp species, gall midges (Aphidoletes aphidimyza) or the Australian ladybird. They are supplied on small cards and are immediately attached to the affected plants. When attaching, you should make sure that the cards with the beneficial insects are not exposed to direct sunlight. In addition, the temperatures during use must not fall below 15 degrees. These beneficial insects are so small that you can hardly see them with the naked eye. They feed on the aphids until there are none left. Then they disappear again on their own.

Plant
protection products based on pyrethrum The effect of this plant protection product is based on pyrethrum, a natural active ingredient that is completely broken down in a relatively short time, but is still a powerful plant protection product. It acts as a so-called contact poison, which means that it is not absorbed by the plant and only has an external effect on the respective pest.

The affected parts of the plant are wetted with this contact poison. Here, too, it is important to treat the underside and top of the leaves. In order to catch the animals that hatch later, it is important to repeat the treatment after about 7 to 9 days. Gloves should be worn when using such pesticides. In addition, you should always follow the manufacturer’s specifications in terms of dosage and approval.

Effectively prevent infestation

To prevent an infestation from occurring in the first place, there are a number of things you can do to prevent it. Aphids are so-called weak parasites, ie they infest plants that are already weak. In addition, they are very adaptable. Accordingly, you should ensure a healthy indoor climate by ventilating regularly, ensuring there is sufficient humidity and not placing the plants in the immediate vicinity of radiators or not above them. The humidity can be increased by frequently spraying the plants with room-warm water. Otherwise, temperatures that are too high should be avoided, as well as over-fertilization, especially with nitrogen.

A good home remedy for prevention is garlic. You stick a few cloves into the potting soil so deep that they are completely covered with substrate. An odor nuisance is not to be feared, since the toes disappear completely into the ground. If you then check the indoor plants regularly for infestation, for example with the help of yellow stickers, aphids don’t stand a chance.

frequently asked Questions

What lice can infest indoor plants?
Green, brown, black, yellow or gray lice can appear on indoor plants, usually in entire colonies. This can be brought in when buying new plants or when indoor plants that were outside in summer are brought back into the house. They are the size of a pinhead and secrete sticky honeydew that can quickly become colonized by sooty mold fungi. The form of control is the same for all species mentioned.

Which means are most effective?
It is not possible to say in general which means are the most effective. Certainly chemical pesticides are the most effective. But home remedies or other biological remedies can also be very effective, but usually only as long as the infestation is not too severe. Despite everything, chemical agents should always be avoided and preference should be given to biological ones.

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