Aphids on Tomato Plants: Soap Spray Cure for the Green Little Bugs that Leave White Specks


Aphids attack most plants. You will find them clustered on the stems and often see white specks of molted bodies around.

A soap spray — like Ivory dish soap — will take care of most soft bodied insects like aphids that like to suck the juices from a plant. The soap affects their digestion and dehydrates them.

Be careful not to use too much soap in the spray mix of soap and water. Too much soap will hurt the plants.

1) Label a spray bottle “Aphid Killer” and fill the household spray bottle with 1 quart of tap water, and add 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil to the water. If you use a spray bottle from a depleted product, make sure it is completely rinsed clean of leftover product.

2) Next, add 1/2 to 3/4 tablespoon of liquid dishwashing soap, such as Ivory dish soap, to the water. Don’t use products made for automatic dishwasher use. Use only mild fragrance-free, non-detergent soaps without antibacterial ingredients or other extras. If the tomato plants are suffering from mildew or other fungal problems, add 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda into the spray mix.

3) After securing the cap, shake gently to mix all ingredients.

4) Spray the affected portions of the tomato plant with the insecticidal soap in the very early morning or early evening on a cloudy day. Most aphids accumulate on the undersides of the leaves or near the stem joints. Make sure you spray the bugs, not just the white molt. Reapply the soap every five or seven days to finish off any lingering aphids.

Consider testing the spray on two or three leaves, and then wait three days to ensure no damage occurs before proceeding with treatment on the entire plant or plants.

5) Check the plants after spraying. Rinse the plants with water if too much residue from the mix might be exposed to the hot sun days later.

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