The great thing is that there are several different ways of removing aphids.
In this guide, I will be discussing a variety of methods to remove aphids from tomato plants.
These ways of removal will provide exceptional results as it is a tried and tested method able to hold its own.
So, if you are someone who wants to see your tomato plant grow out to be the best, then keep on reading.
- Quick answer: How to Remove Aphids from Tomato Plants?
- Aphids: What Are They?
- How To Identify Aphids?
- Why Aphids Are Incredibly Harmful to Tomato Plants?
- How to Remove Aphids from Tomato Plants?
Aphids: What Are They?
As you can tell, aphids are plant pests that have more than 4000 species and can be found all over the world. In fact, they are known to prefer climates that are either warm or moderate.
While aphids are incredibly tiny, they aren’t as difficult to spot as you would think, as they tend to move in large numbers.
How To Identify Aphids?
To be able to spot aphids in the most effective way on your tomato plant to be able to remove them, you have to know where to look.
Aphids are known to prefer settling around new stems that are growing on your tomato plant.
Another area that you should focus on is the bottom of the leaves. Of course, there can exist a wide variety of bugs that you would find on your tomato plants.
However, they can easily be identified from the shape of their bodies, that is shaped like a pear.
Unlike their shape, they come in a variety of colors, which include pink, black, orange, and most commonly, green.
The size of an aphid is likely to be anywhere between one to seven millimeters.
These minuscule insects suck on the sap in plants, which causes a variety of issues within the plant, one of which includes a distortion in the growth of your tomato plants.
The great thing about small aphid infestations is that they do not cause a significant amount of damage to the tomato plant if taken care of at the early stages.
Ways to remove aphids are also quite easy to navigate through. The issue comes in when it comes to the population of aphids.
Once you have a small infestation, it would not take much time for that small infestation to turn into a large infestation because they reproduce at an alarming rate.
The offspring of a female aphid are called nymphs, which are known to mature in just three weeks.
Not only do aphids procreate at an exponential rate, but once they mature, they also grow wings which allows these infestations to spread throughout your tomato plants, creating literal colonies.
There is no doubt that aphid infestations should be dealt with promptly in order to avoid disaster in the future.
Want to learn more about the lifecycle of aphids? here is a great video –
Why Aphids Are Incredibly Harmful to Tomato Plants?
Aphids are known to cause damage to tomato plants due to two different reasons, both of which are either directly or indirectly connected to their feeding process.
Here is how they cause damage to your plants directly due to their feeding process.
Wilting of Leaves
While plants can withstand some light feeding, as the infestation becomes much more sizable and widespread, the feeding leads to a decrease in nutrition supplied to the fruit and leaves.
This lack of nutrition causes the leaves on your tomato plant to become yellow and wilt.
The feeding is also known to stunt the growth of new leaves and fruits, which is caused by the drainage of sap.
Curling of Leaves
The curling of leaves is caused by a specific variety of aphid species, including the leaf curl ash aphid.
This is due to the fact that this type of aphid is known to inject the plant with saliva that distorts the cells of the plant itself during its feeding process.
This leads to the leaves of your tomato plant curling permanently. In fact, these curled leaves then act as a shelter for aphids, which leads to them forming colonies.
Transmission of Viruses
One of the most significant types of damage that aphids can cause to your tomato plants includes the transmission of viruses, which is caused once an aphid infestation starts to grow and spread.
If a single tomato plant is known to carry disease or virus, the aphids of that plant will acquire it and transmit it while feeding on another plant.
Attraction of Ants
During their feeding process, aphids will deposit phloem sap from their bodies in order to extract nitrogen in return.
After this entire exchange is completed, what is left on your tomato plant will be a residue of honeydew.
This honeydew is particularly harmful to tomato plants as this residue will lead to the attraction of ants, which are known to be predators of plants.
Indirect Damage Caused Due to Aphid Feeding
The indirect cause of feeding is caused by the honeydew residue, which also leads to the attraction of a type of fungi known as sooty mold and is airborne. Fungal spores form due to them feeding on the honeydew.
How to Remove Aphids from Tomato Plants?
There are five different ways in which you can remove aphids from tomato plants, all of which are quite straightforward and easy to accomplish.
Before getting into the ways, here is a video that you can watch to gain a deeper understanding of the entire process of aphid removal from tomato plants.
Identifying Aphids on Tomato Plant & 3 Treatments: Jet Water Spray, Soapy & Smothering Oil Sprays
Method 1: Removal by Hand
This method is most suitable for aphid infestations that are small and can be managed easily. Y
ou can simply start off by finding aphids, picking them up, and, for lack of a better term, squishing them into oblivion.
Of course, this method does not suit everyone.
So, as an alternative, you can grab a wet cloth and wipe the cloth over the area on your tomato plant that is affected. Be sure to use a bit of dish soap on the wet cloth.
If your tomato plant is more on the fragile side, you also can use water pressure on the aphids by spraying them with a spray bottle.
However, this method is quite tricky as it could actually lead to the spread of the aphids to other tomato plants.
Method 2: Oil Sprays
When it comes to large infestations, which one cannot manage by hand, oil sprays might be the way to go.
It is known that neem oil is a great oil to utilize. This is because neem oil is organic and does not have a composition that could damage your tomato plants.
Once sprayed in the affected areas, the oil is known to kill the aphids through suffocation and halts their reproduction process. Start off with one tablespoon of neem oil and add it into 2 cups of water.
Pour the mixture into the spray bottle and get to work. Be sure to focus the oil spray on the bottom of the leaves and repeat the process in seven days.
You can also utilize horticultural oils, which are typically vegetable-based, as they also have the capability to kill aphids through suffocation.
That is not all; horticultural oil sprays are also known to have the ability to remove molds and fungi, which are formed due to the honeydew, which allows them to be a great solution.
It is important to note that these oil sprays should be avoided completely in excessive heat during the day. This is because the oil sprayed on the leaves could cause them to burn under the harsh heat of the sun.
Method 3: Alcohol Sprays
Apart from oil-based sprays, you can also use alcohol sprays as a way to remove large aphid infestations.
You can use rubbing alcohol, which is easy to get your hands on and quite a cost-effective option.
So, all you have to do is add equal parts of ethanol and water into a spray bottle.
To increase the effectiveness of the alcohol spray, you can go the extra mile and add a single tablespoon of dish soap into the mixture.
Then simply spray it on the affected areas of your tomato plant. Similar to oil-based sprays, it is best to avoid spraying the alcohol mixture in hot weather, that too, while the heat is at its peak.
Method 4: Use of Companion Plants and Predators
While tomato plants are known to be particularly attractive to aphids, there exist a variety of plants, known as companion plants, which allow you to get rid of aphids because they repel these bugs.
So, you can plant companion plants, such as marigolds and chives, next to your tomato plants.
These companion plants will then repel aphids by either attraction of predators, explained below, or their smell.
In a garden, there exists a variety of bugs that are either good or bad for your tomato plants.
While aphids are your nemesis, bugs, such as lacewings, ladybugs, and even parasitic wasps, are your friends due to the simple fact that they count as natural predators of aphids.
So, one way to get rid of aphids is to attract the natural predators of aphids with the use of plants, such as daisies, marigolds, even catnip.
Method 5: Row Covers and Aphid Traps
You can use row covers by adding them to your garden of tomato plants because they are known to help prevent aphids.
However, that is not all; they also provide the added benefits of providing protection to your tomatoes from the excess heat of the sun.
As for aphid traps, you can use row covers or even yellow sticky boards as a way to control the population of aphids or even prevent them.
The yellow sticky boards make for great traps as they can attract aphids towards them and then, of course, catch and trap them.
The only issue with yellow sticky boards is their reflective nature, which can cause the tomatoes and fruits to burn.
It is certainly possible to use vinegar as a way to get rid of aphids. This is because vinegar shares the properties of natural pesticides and kills off aphids by burning them. To do so, you can create a solution that consists of water and vinegar.
Aphids are known to be attracted towards tomato plants much more so than other plants. However, another factor to consider is because aphids are also particularly attracted to plants with new soft growth of fruits.
There could also be some activities that you may be indulging in that could be leading to the continued return of aphids, such as over-watering your tomato plants or even over-fertilizing them.
It is best to use preventative measures, such as the use of traps or companion plants to prevent this from further happening.
This is certainly a possibility if you have houseplants inside your house, particularly those to which aphids are especially attracted to.
However, plants that aphids are generally attracted to aren’t commonly kept as houseplants.
You should still factor in the fact that aphids are bugs, which tend to feed on a variety of plants, which could include your houseplants.
All in all, there are various methods that you can use to remove aphids from your tomato plants.
I have provided methods that suit all types of situations, such as manual methods for small aphid infestations, sprays for large infestations, and more.
Now it is up to you to decide which method best suits you. Be sure to also put some preventative measures into place after the removal, such as planting companion plants.