Get rid of aphids in your organic garden with this homemade aphid spray – all you need is a sprayer, some neem oil, and 2 basic ingredients!
Controlling aphids in the garden can be challenging, but there are a number of helpful organic aphid control methods that can be effective.
One method that comes in handy when you have a large infestation of aphids that is too severe to contain with handpicking or simply spraying them away with water is to make your own homemade aphid spray. There are plenty of DIY aphid spray recipes out there on the internet, and many of them are quite helpful. One of our favorites is neem oil aphid spray.
Neem oil is an extract from the neem plant (Azadirachta indica), and it works in two ways: by coating the aphid’s bodies and smothering them, and by disrupting their reproductive cycle. (Note that you’ll want to make sure you’re using cold-pressed neem oil, so that the active ingredient azadirachtin is still effective.)
Organic neem oil is approved for use in organic gardens, and it is generally safe to use around bees and other beneficial insects. However, like all pesticides, you should use caution when spraying around your garden, and only spray when necessary. Try to avoid spraying directly on any beneficial insects, and it is best to spray during the evening when fewer bees may be out and about. This can also help to prevent leaf burn. While neem oil is a natural product, in high concentrations it may burn sensitive plant leaves, so make sure to follow the directions when mixing up your aphid spray.
To protect your plants, spray in the evening or when cloudy, as sunlight may intensify the effects of the oil and cause damage to your plants – especially on tender new growth, which is where aphids love to gather and feed.
The video below shares a recipe for making your own homemade aphid spray with neem oil, as well as some tips for applying it most effectively. For best results, you will likely want to reapply after a week or two just to make sure you catch the next batch of hatching eggs and eliminate the new aphids before they reproduce.
If you’re having problems with aphids in your garden, this DIY aphid spray may just save the day! (Recipe follows the video.)
Homemade Aphid Spray Recipe with Neem Oil:
(Makes 1 gallon. To adjust quantity, scale up or down as desired, keeping proportions the same.)
- One gallon of water
- 1 tablespoon of cold-pressed 100% neem oil
- 1 teaspoon natural liquid dish soap or castile soap
You’ll want to fully emulsify the neem oil before spraying; otherwise, it can come out unevenly or even clog your sprayer. Here are some helpful directions for proper emulsification, from HomesteadAndChill.com:
- Add about 3 quarts of lukewarm water to your 1-gallon pump sprayer.
- In a small container such as a half-pint jar or small beaker, combine 1 tablespoon of neem oil with 1 teaspoon of liquid soap. Stir thoroughly to combine. This should create a creamy thick yellow liquid.
- Fill a clean quart jar about three-quarters full with warm water. Yes, it is critical to use warm water to aid in mixing, but not hot. Now pour in your neem soap/silica solution. Cap the jar, and shake the living daylights out of it. If it is fully mixed, you won’t see oil droplets forming on the surface. Your neem oil is now emulsified!
- Finally, pour the warm quart of neem solution in with the water that is already in your sprayer to create your final diluted mixture. Cap, and shake well to mix.
- Spray affected areas thoroughly, according to instructions above.