How to Get Rid of Aphids

By Julie Miller
How to Get Rid of Aphids

Aphids are outdoor pests. They are also unwelcome (indoor) guests. No homeowner wants aphids on their trailing philodendrons or ripening tomato plants. You don’t want to rip out that precious cucumber plant, with its rough, succulent stem that you had so carefully tended to during that late spring frost or toss that massive peace lily plant that your grandmother had given you when you graduated from college.

You must put an end to these pests and you must do so quickly. Understanding their life cycle is key. Being proactive is a necessity.

The Life Cycle of an Aphid

Aphids can increase with great speed. Though a female aphid’s life is short, averaging around 25 days, her offspring, numbering in the 80s, carry on her legacy. These nymphs come into this world, mature into adults, and can start laying more eggs within 7 days time.

Their life cycle is mysterious and complicated. In the spring, a female gives birth to female nymphs without mating. You read it right. These babies are all female and she gives birth asexually—without a male. This mama aphid continues to give birth to female aphids throughout the spring and summer. These babes, all born live, are all basically clones of their mother. In the fall, though, a generation is born that grows into both female and male individuals. These siblings mate and the females lay fertilized winter eggs. Why eggs? Why now? Eggs are necessary, as they provide a more sturdy stage for the unborn nymphs to survive harsh winter weather. These nymphs hatch and one life cycle closes. The males simply die off and the females go on to produce more females.

If this cycle takes place indoors, there is no winter to slow their reproduction. The females can continue to reproduce nymphs without pause. This is not good news, as the aphid population can then quickly explode.

How to Eliminate Fast-Reproducing Aphids

To eliminate aphids, I recommend Dr. Killigan’s Insect Buster, which you fill with diatomaceous earth. (Diatomaceous earth, or DE, must be purchased separately). The Insect Buster greatly enhances the benefits of DE on plants through its hyper-targeted application and precise distribution method. Diatomaceous earth is safe for use around children and pets, though it is highly recommended that one lets the dust particles settle first, as overexposure can irritate both a person's lungs and skin. To keep your whole family safe, including your fur balls, it is best to avoid mainstream products, as they are often filled of toxic chemicals. This, though, does not mean that you have to settle for less-effective solutions.

One caveat: DE is harmful to both bees and butterfly larvae, which we are adamant protectors of. Use DE in the spring, when the aphid population is most fierce and before the bee populations have had their day. Another suggestion would be to cover the treated plants with netting until you've dealt with these speedily reproducing aphids. 

Final Word on How to Get Rid of Aphids

Dr. Killigan’s Insect Buster is a tool that we should all have in our arsenal. It’s powerful killing effect, with the use of DE, on aphids is only the beginning of its story of triumph and victory over many creepy crawlies that you’ll most likely come into contact with one day. See the Insect Buster's product guide for more information and enjoy your journey to a bug-free home.


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2 comments
  • Hello David,

    I am happy to answer your question.

    Unfortunately at this time, Dr. Killigan does not have a specific product that acts as a preventative against mosquitos. However, here are two suggestions I would like to offer.

    Our Six Feet Under spray is a kill-on-contact solution. It is not a residual spray like a repellant, but it will kill mosquitos if sprayed on them directly.

    Diatomaceous Earth works differently than regular insecticides. The tiny dust particles cling to the legs and body of any insect that comes in contact with it. When the insect later grooms the powder off their bodies, it poisons them when boron builds up in their system – they can neither digest nor excrete the substance. Once this takes place (after about a week to 10 days, depending on the insect), the insects die of dehydration or starvation as the Diatomaceous Earth affects their metabolism and ability to absorb nutrients. The abrasive compounds in Diatomaceous Earth also scratches the exoskeletons of the insects, causing them to die.

    I hope this information has been helpful for you, David. Cheers!

    vanessa meyer on
  • Living in California we have little mosquitoes they are black-and-white In colorThe county of San Bernardino or the stateOf California consider them ankle bitersThey seem to live without Standing water or moisture Can you suggest something

    David Black on

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