Aphids can be an issue with many plants in your yard, including your vegetables. Although these insects will not usually kill plants completely, they can be the cause of curled and damaged leaves, discoloration, spread of viruses between plants, stunted growth, and other problems. A few aphids are probably not a need for concern, but a large population can really hurt your plants, not to mention gross you out when you find them crawling on you veggie plants!
Using insecticides to control aphids can be problematic, since you don’t want to kill other beneficial insects that might be living in your garden. There are less extreme options that aren’t as likely to harm other bugs or leave residue on plants, such as insecticidal soap. Do some careful research on different products before spraying anything potentially harmful in your garden.
To go the more organic route, start by simply showering affected plants with a strong stream of regular water from the hose. This will wash away many of the aphids, most often rendering them unable to return to your plants. If you do this in the morning, your plants’ leaves should dry off quickly in the heat of the day, preventing fungus and diseases from developing.
Another natural method is to use the aphids’ predators against them. Ladybugs, for example, like to dine on aphids and can eat thousands of these pests in their lifetime. You can buy ladybugs at many garden stores and then release them on your plants. Although many ladybugs are likely to stick around for the abundant food, there is no guarantee that they will stay on your plants and so they might not always be effective.
If you see ants around, however, keep in mind that these insects will actually try to protect aphids. Reduce ant numbers first to improve the chances of natural predators succeeding in getting rid of aphids. Good luck!