The Q&A Archives: Aphids On Tomatoes

Question: We have an infestation of aphids on our tomato plants and need to know how to control them. We have l8 plants. Prefer not to use pestcides.

Answer: Aphids are a pest that can usually be controlled without pesticides. I always start with the simplest method first, and if that isn't successful, move on from there. Healthy vigorous plants will withstand insect attacks best and sometimes a little damage is acceptable. If your aphid problem is not too severe, a strong blast of water from the hose should work. Spray underneath leaves, in between, etc. Do this daily.

If that doesn't work, try a soapy water spray. Use 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons of liquid detergent soap per gallon of water. Use regular, not concentrated soap. Don't use soaps with lemon, as the citric acid can burn plants. Start with the lower amount and work up as needed. Spray as often as needed. As with any spray you might wish to test it on a few leaves first before you treat all your plants. Next on my list would be an insecticidal soap spray.

Ladybugs and their larvae are voracious eaters of aphids. They often "arrive" a week or two after the aphids, so not spraying with chemicals is a good idea if you'd like to attract them to your garden to consume aphids for you. Good luck!

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