Essential oils are a natural remedy that gardeners have used to kill and remove a variety of bugs and pests from their plants. But are essential oils an effective way of getting rid of aphids and which essential oils kill aphids?
A range of essential oils can be used to deter and potentially kill aphids. These include coriander, lavender, fennel, oregano and juniper essential oils.
What Essential Oils Kill Aphids?
There are many insecticides that contain essential oils and will advertise themselves as being primarily essential oil deterrents. After all, the phrase essential oils will make you subconsciously assume it is natural.
Whilst this is true, with many of these containing neem oil, a lot of them have chemicals in which can be bad for the environment, your garden and even your health or the health of your pets.
So, yes, you can use these neem oil insecticides and they will remove aphids, but they are not natural. Instead, we would recommend producing your own essential oil that’s all-natural.
The Best Essential Oils to Kill Aphids
Before you make your own spray or use essential oils, you’ll want to know which are the most effective. Whilst most essential oils are good at getting rid of aphids, there are some which have a stronger impact than others. Below is a list of the seven most effective essential oils for ridding your plants of aphids:
- Coriander Oil
- Lavender Oil
- Fennel Oil
- Oregano Oil
- Juniper Oil
- Peppermint Oil
- Clove Oil
Make sure to dilute these oils with water or soap before applying them to your plants. Otherwise, you could cause damage to your garden.
If used in high concentrations, peppermint oil can effectively kill aphids. Even if it doesn’t kill them, it should work well at deterring them.
Yes, most essential oils, including tea tree oil, can work well at both deterring and killing aphids.
Making Your Own Essential Oil Spray
To make a spray to use on your affected plants, mix several drops of essential oils from the above list with water.
You should use around 4 or 5 drops of each of these essential oils (peppermint, clove, oregano and lavender) in around 1 to 2 litres of water. Just mix together in a spray bottle.
You can then use this spray directly on your plants, it is not harmful to them and it will kill the aphids on the leaves that you spray. However, only apply the oils to the plants if they are diluted with water or even a soap mixture.
If you apply full-strength essential oils directly to the plant, they can be toxic and can cause damage to the plant’s leaves and stems.
After making your spray, it is a good idea to test it. Spray the solution onto a couple of specific leaves, these can be ones with or without aphids.
Leave the solution on the plant for a few hours and return to check if the spray has damaged any leaves. As well as this, if you sprayed it onto a plant with aphids, you can check if any of the aphids have left or died on the plant.
You’ll be surprised how quick it can work!
Making an essential oil insecticide is easy. Add 4 drops of peppermint oil, oregano oil and lavender oil into 1 litre of water, shake and then spray.
Can Essential Oils Get Rid of Aphid Eggs?
We know that essential oils can be used to kill fully-grown adult aphids, but what about their eggs?
Aphid eggs are laid on plant leaves, usually on the underside of the leaf. Spraying the leaf where the eggs are will kill the larvae and prevent the eggs from hatching. Thus, making sure that no future aphid generations can destroy your plants.
Do Any Aphids Like Essential Oils?
There are many different species of aphids, but none of them appears to be attracted to essential oils.
However, they are attracted to certain types of fruit so it is possible that using the scents of these fruits may attract more aphids to your garden. These fruits include peaches, pears and cherries. Adding these scents to essential oil mixtures could negate the deterrent you have made.
Fed Up With Aphids Ruining Plants?
We’ve Put Together a Complete and Free Guide on How to GET RID Aphids Once and For All! – Including 5 Deterrents to Try:
Can You Use Perfumed Essential Oils?
You cannot use perfumed and scented oils to get rid of aphids. They are not natural and can damage your plants and also can injure some of the helpful insects that may reside in your garden.
As well as this, the perfumed scents will not necessarily deter the aphids off of your plants. Essential oils are the most effective because they are completely natural and chemical-free.
Will Naturally Fragrant Plants Deter Aphids?
There are many plants that have a beautiful fragrance and are very desirable to have in your garden. Sadly, these fragrant flowers are unlikely to deter aphids like essential oils.
Instead, they actually attract a variety of insect species into your gardens. This is not a bad thing as many of the insects that these flowers attract are natural predators to aphids so can help to control the aphid population in your garden.
One of these insects is the green lacewing, it is a natural predator of many aphid species and they have developed a sense of smell. Scientists have studied this and found that green lacewings can identify the smell of ‘plant perfume’.
There are also other insects such as ladybirds and hoverflies that are attracted by these smells and will also feed on the aphid pests. One such plant that you can use to attract these aphid predators is jasmine. Jasmine has a very strong smell so is very inviting to a lot of insects.
However, this does also include aphids and therefore you should keep some essential oil spray to tend to this plant, just in case the predators cannot control the pest population.
To summarise, most essential oils will kill or drive away aphids from your plants. You need to dilute these essential oils with either soap or water so that they won’t cause damage to your plants.
Some of the most effective essential oils include lavender oil, fennel oil and clove oil. You should not use non-natural perfumes and some perfumed plants can attract natural aphid predators such as green lacewings. Essential oils are a great way to deal with your aphid pest problem.
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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