Bob Vila shows how to get rid of aphids.

By Bob Vila

Are your garden plants dying despite your best efforts to keep them alive?If you look at the undersides of the leaves, you may see large groups of insects.On plants with tightly-packed leaves like those of day lilies, the aphids may take root at the base of the plant instead.These quarter-inch-long garden pests have pear-shaped bodies in various shades of white, black, yellow, green, brown, or red.They suck the life out of leaves, stems, buds, flowers, fruit, and roots when they feed on the plant’s sap.

By the time you notice the insects on your plants, you are likely in the middle of a full-blown invasion.Before major damage occurs, homeowners can often combat the pests.If you want to keep your plants from being ruined in the future, you have to get rid of aphids.

If you see a few aphids on your plants, you can use a strong stream of water from the hose.If you want to target the underside of each leaf, run water all over the plant.It could take up to two weeks to eliminate all the aphids, if you repeat this process every few days.

There is a war with larger numbers of insects.A low-toxicity bug control solution that will desiccate the soft bodies and kill the aphids without doing harm to your plants can be made.Simply mix a small amount of liquid dish soap with a quart of water and spray or wipe the solution on the leaves, stems, and buds of the plant.Take care to coat the underside of the leaves because these bugs like to hide.For the next few weeks, you should repeat the process every two or three days.

If you don’t want to use insecticidal soap, you may need to kill them with a systemic pesticide.It is possible to use a product containing Imidacloprid, which will kill aphids but won’t harm pollinators like bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies.Apply according to the directions.

Take measures to prevent pests from coming back after you’ve eradicated them.There are three ways to protect your plants.

Several species of bugs happily eat aphids.If you provide a habitat of flowering ground covers, you can draw them to the garden and keep the aphid population in check.Natural predators can be purchased via mail-order.If you introduce beneficial bugs to your garden, don’t use a broad-spectrum pesticide.