Alcohol is very strong and can cause damage to certain beings. Aphids are very sensitive to strong solutions such as essential oils, but does alcohol have the same effect?
The Quick Answer
Does Alcohol Kill Aphids?
Alcohol can kill aphids but there is a caveat to this because it can also kill plants. You must dilute it correctly to both kill aphid infestations whilst not killing off your plants.
Can Alcohol Kill Aphids?
There are many gardeners who use alcohol to treat aphid infestations as it can in fact kill the little pests. But you have to be careful when using alcohol as a treatment as it can damage your plants. And sadly, it does not give you an excuse to stop at the shops and pick up a load of booze to stock your cabinets with.
What Type of Alcohol Kills Aphids?
When treating aphids, you should not use regular drinking alcohol. Instead, you should use rubbing alcohol in a diluted solution. Using rubbing alcohol means that you can create a spray to apply to your plants to clear them of their aphid infestation.
To make this spray, mix rubbing alcohol and water in equal parts. Mix the solution and add it to a spray bottle. Then spray your plants, indoor or outdoor, with a fine mist to cover the whole affected area.
Make sure to be careful when applying this solution, you may wish to do a test on a singular leaf to check that it doesn’t damage your plants. You should also try to apply this solution in the morning or evening as the spray can cause damage to the plant if it is sitting through a hot day.
Will Full Strength Alcohol Work?
If you are making a spray solution for your plant then no, you should not use full-strength alcohol.
However, if you are not wanting to use a spray on your plants then there is a way that you can use full strength alcohol. It should be noted that this method only works on plants with small infestations as it is delicate and precise.
Once again, you should use rubbing alcohol rather than drinking alcohol. Get a cotton bud or something similar, dip it into the alcohol and then use the alcohol dipped end of the bud to touch the aphids on your plants. This contact with alcohol will kill the aphids almost instantly. But if you miss the aphids and touch your plant it could harm it.
So, you can use full-strength alcohol, but it is safer and easier to use a diluted solution.
Can Alcohol Kill Plants?
If you dilute the alcohol correctly and apply the solution carefully then you should not kill your plants. However, some are more sensitive than others so once again I would recommend doing a small test before spraying the whole plant with any solution. If you do not dilute your alcohol, then it can cause some serious damage to your plant.
Scientists have found that alcohol does stunt the growth of a plant and if an alcohol solution is over 25% alcohol then the plant will die. This is why many gardeners do not use alcohol to treat infected plants, despite the fact that it quickly kills aphids.
What Other Solutions Kill Aphids?
Alcohol is not the only solution you can use to treat aphid infected plants. There are also a lot of other natural ways to kill aphids that do not involve the use of environmentally unfriendly pesticides. Some are listed below.
Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons contain d-limonene in their peels. This chemical can kill aphids and many other pests, such as fleas. As well as this, the simple smell of citrus fruit will drive aphids away from plants.
Therefore, placing citrus peels around the base of your plants will not only deter aphids but it will also provide nutrient-rich soil for your flowers to grow. Using orange oil also has the same effect as that also contains d-limonene.
Certain essential oils are more effective at killing aphids than others, but almost all of them will do the job of ridding your plants of the tiny pests. You can make a diluted solution, similar to the one mentioned above, to spray on your plants. Some good oils to use are lavender oil and clove oil.
There are other methods of killing aphids, but these appear to be some of the most effective and most loved by gardeners.
In conclusion, we know that alcohol can quickly and effectively kill aphids.
You can dilute rubbing alcohol to make a spray solution to treat your infected plants, you should not use drinking alcohol to kill aphids. Using alcohol solutions over a strength of 25% will kill your plants and using an alcohol spray to kill aphids may stunt the growth of more sensitive plants.
Other solutions that kill aphids are essential oils and d-limonene which is found in the peel of citrus fruits like lemons and oranges.
Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden