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How to Get Rid of Aphids on Tomato Plants

How to Get Rid of Aphids on Tomato Plants

There are multiple ways to get rid of aphids on tomato plants. On the top of our heads, we have methods as simple as manual removal to more complicated endeavors that include attracting or introducing predators and making repellent sprays.

What makes them tick and how can we make sure they don’t stay? We’ve got all the juicy details about aphids and keeping them off your tomato plants! 

What do aphids look like?

What do aphids look like
Image by Brittanica

Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that typically have pear-shaped bodies with long antennae and six legs. 

They come in various colors, including green, yellow, black, or brown, and often have two tubular structures called cornicles projecting from their hind end.

These little buggers just love setting up shop on tomato plants. Can you believe they’re about the size of a rice grain?

They have a delicate taste for tomato plant sap, sipping away like connoisseurs with their teeny-tiny mouths that can expertly poke through leaves and stems.

So what kind of damage do aphids cause to tomato plants? Expect to see unhealthy, underdeveloped, and unattractive plants that may have diseases aside from infestations due to a lack of nutrients.

What are the signs of early aphid infestation that I should look for?

What are the signs of early aphid infestation that I should look for
Image by The Old Farmer’s Almanac

If you see sticky leaves, distorted development, unattractive appearance, honeydew on leaves, disease spread, and multiple aphids, then you’re on shaky ground.

Sticky Leaves

Take a look at those leafy beauties of yours. If you spot any of those leaves sporting a shiny, sticky substance, this is one of the signs.

Distorted Development

If you see twisted or deformed leaves, stems, or flowers, it could be a sign of aphid damage. Aphids can cause the plant tissues to grow abnormally, leading to distorted shapes.

Presence of Tiny Bugs

Take a close look at the undersides of the leaves. You might spot those tiny bugs that are green, yellow, black, brown, or even pink. 

Ants on Plants

If you spot ants having a party around your plants, chances are aphids have crashed the scene. Don’t forget to give your tomato plants a regular check-up, particularly the leaf undersides. 

Ways to Control and Get Rid of Aphids on Tomato Plants

Ways to Control and Get Rid of Aphids on Tomato Plants
Image by Vegetable Crops Hotline

We’re all about keeping things natural and organic here, because who needs toxic chemicals messing up our environment, homes, and well-being? 

Here are some nifty ways to handle those aphid invasions like a pro!

1. Manually remove aphids

Manually remove aphids
Image by The Gardening Dad
DifficultyEasy ●○○○○
Things You Need• Personal protective equipment

• Spray bottle filled with water

• Bucket or container filled with water

For small aphid populations, you can physically remove them from the tomato plant by spraying them off with a strong stream of water or by gently wiping them away with a cloth or sponge.

2. Bring in natural predators

Bring in natural predators
Image by Wild Yards

Hey, guess what? In the epic battle of the garden, there are some awesome insect superheroes ready to save the day.

Some natural predators you can consider bringing in are ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps.

3. Attract natural predators

Attract natural predators
Image by
DifficultyEasy ●○○○○
SpeedQuick to medium
Things You Need• Personal protective equipment

• Store-bought beneficial insects, optional

• Marigolds, daisies, and other plants that attract beneficial insects

If you want to roll out the welcome mat for garden defenders, there are a few tricks you can use.

How to Attract Natural Predators to Your Tomato Plants
1. Sprinkle some marigolds or daisies nearby.
The floral equivalent of a bug beacon. Ladybugs and lacewings can’t resist the charm, and they’ll swarm in for a tasty feast.
2. Avoid using harmful pesticides. 
Those things can disrupt the natural groove of our helpful insect friends and throw the whole garden off balance. 
3. Provide shelter.
You can create their version of bug beds-and-breakfasts by making tiny houses or piling up leaves for them to chill and recharge when they’re not busy gobbling up aphids.

4. Use insecticidal soap

Use insecticidal soap
Image by Minnetonka Orchards
DifficultyEasy ●○○○○
SpeedQuick to medium
Things You Need• Personal protective equipment

• Insecticidal soap

• Bottle sprayer

This special soap is like a stealthy ninja that suffocates those pesky bugs, leaving them gasping for air. 

Unlike some other insecticides, this type of soap is eco-friendly. Bees and ladybugs can chill out without any worries. 

How to Use Insecticidal Soap
1. Prepare the mixture.
To get your insecticidal soap ready for action, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and dilute the concentrate. Usually, you’ll want to mix about 1 to 2 tablespoons of soap concentrate with a gallon of lukewarm water.
This temperature tweak can enhance the effectiveness of the soap.
2. Identify the target insects.
Next, figure out which critters you want to kick to the curb. Insecticidal soap works like a charm against soft-bodied insects such as aphids, mites, and whiteflies.
3. Test on a small area.
Before treating the whole plant, perform a patch test on a small, inconspicuous area to make sure it won’t cause any harm or burning. Wait for 24 hours and inspect for any negative reactions.
4. Apply the solution.
To tackle the infestation, grab a sprayer and douse the plant, covering both sides of the leaves. Make sure the solution reaches those pesky pests to maximize its effectiveness.
Remember to avoid spraying when it’s scorching hot or under direct sunlight to spare the plant from stress or burns.
5. Repeat as necessary.
Keep an eye on your plant and check out those pesky bugs. If needed, reapply the product every 7 to 10 days or as instructed on the label until you’ve got those critters under control.
6. Clean up.
Once you’re done applying the herbicide, make sure to clean your sprayer and tools thoroughly. Use soap and water to remove any residue and prevent cross-contamination.

5. Use horticultural oil

Use horticultural oil
Image by Gardening, Herbs, Plants, and Product Reviews
DifficultyEasy ●○○○○
SpeedQuick to medium
Things You Need• Personal protective equipment

• Horticultural oil of choice

• Bottle sprayer

These oils work their magic by coating the aphids and basically giving them a suffocating bear hug. It’s a special blend made from natural substances, like soybean or neem oil. 

We mix it as instructed and spray it onto those tomato plants. When sprayed on the leaves and stems, it covers the aphid eggs and puts them in timeout. 

Neem oil is an example. This horticultural oil is extracted from the neem tree, which grows on the grounds of our lovely planet. 

This oil basically messes with the aphids’ mealtime and growth routine, leaving them all weak and miserable until they bite the dust. 

How to Use Horticultural Oils
1. Choose the right oil.
When it comes to choosing a horticultural oil, pick one that suits your plants and targets those pesky pests. The more specific your oil, the more results you’ll likely see!
2. Timing is key.
To tackle pests on your plants, consider using horticultural oils. Apply them when the season and weather conditions are right, following the instructions provided.
Timing is crucial, as it depends on the growth stage of your plants and the life cycles of the pests.
3. Prepare the mixture.
To get your horticultural oil ready for action, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and dilute it accordingly. If needed, you can mix it with water or other recommended additives as specified.
4. Test spray first.
Before going all in and treating the whole plant, it’s wise to do a quick test spray on a few leaves. This way, you can make sure the oil won’t cause any unwanted damage or turn your leaves into a funky color.
Give it a day or two, and if everything looks good, you’re good to proceed.
5. Apply the solution.
To effectively apply the oil mixture to the target plants, make sure to cover all parts, including the foliage, stems, and branches.
You can use a handheld sprayer, pump sprayer, or any suitable equipment for an even and thorough distribution.
6. Reapply as needed.
If the infestation is stubborn or the residual effects of the horticultural oil wear off, you might have to apply it again. Simply check the product label for the suggested timeframes between applications.
7. Monitor and evaluate.
Keep an eye on your plants after treatment for any pesky pests and overall health. Check if horticultural oils are doing the trick, and make necessary adjustments to your pest management plan.

Planter’s Tips

Avoid using horticultural oils in hot weather or when plants are struggling from drought or extreme conditions. The best temperatures for application usually range from 40 to 90 F. 

Also, keep horticultural oils tightly sealed in their original containers and store them away from extreme temperatures. Dispose of any unused mixture or empty containers according to local regulations.

7. Apply organic sprays

Apply organic sprays
Image by Sellata

Organic sprays are like the all-natural superheroes of pest control. They swoop in to save the day, fighting off pesky aphids on tomato plants without any harmful chemicals. 

Choosing organic sprays is a smart move because they play nice with Mother Nature. No harm done to the environment, beneficial insects, or any other critters. 

Here’s a table so you can check which one works better for you. You can always try others if one doesn’t work out as expected!

Type of SprayBenefitsIngredients
Soap SprayEffective against soft-bodied insectsLiquid soap
Soap and Oil SprayMore effective against soft-bodied insects compared to soap spraysLiquid soap, vegetable oil
Pyrethrum-based SprayRapid knockdown of a wide range of insectsPyrethrum extract, water, inert additives
Garlic and Chili SprayRepels and deters pestsGarlic, chili peppers, water, oil

8. Use essential oil sprays

Use essential oil sprays
Image by Pod Gardens

Did you know that some oils are like superheroes for your garden? Yes, seriously! 

Take lemon, peppermint, rosemary, and thyme, for example. These bad boys have the power to repel insects. 

Check out the table below for their pest-fighting prowess!

Essential OilSpray TypeBenefits
CitrusInsect Repellent SprayRepels common garden pests such as aphids, ants, and mosquitoes. Provides a fresh scent.
PeppermintInsec Repellant and Fungal Control SprayHelps prevent and control fungal diseases like powdery mildew and black spot. Acts as a natural fungicide.
RosemaryInsecticidal SprayActs as a natural insecticide, repelling and eliminating pests like beetles, flies, and moths. Stimulates plant growth.

All you have to do is mix a few drops of these oils with water in a spray bottle, give it a good shake, and spritz it onto your tomato plants. Before going all out, test a small area first to make sure it doesn’t play any nasty tricks on your precious plants. 

Prune the infested leaves

Prune the infested leaves
Image by Trees Unlimited NJ
DifficultyEasy to intermediate ●●○○○
SpeedImmediate to medium
Things You Need• Personal protective equipment

• Pruning shears

If you spot aphids partying on specific tomato leaves, give those troublemakers the snip. Remove those leaves from the garden, sort of like an eviction notice for aphids. 

Make DIY vinegar sprays 

Make DIY vinegar sprays 
Image by Agri Farming
DifficultyEasy to intermediate ●●○○○
SpeedImmediate to medium
Things You Need• Personal protective equipment

• Water

• Vinegar

• Bottle spray

Vinegar acts like a natural repellent, making those aphids think twice about invading your tomato plants. They won’t want to stick around for that sour surprise.

How to Make DIY Vinegar Sprays
1. Gather your materials.
You will need white vinegar, water, a spray bottle, and optional additives like dish soap or essential oils.
2. Mix the solution.
In the spray bottle, combine equal parts white vinegar and water. For example, you can use 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water.
3. Add your optional ingredients.
If desired, you can add a small amount of liquid dish soap, about a teaspoon, or a few drops of essential oil to enhance the effectiveness of the spray.
4. Shake everything well.
Close the spray bottle and shake it vigorously to ensure the vinegar and water are thoroughly mixed.
5. Spray the affected plants.
Locate the aphid-infested plants and spray the vinegar solution directly on the affected areas, making sure to cover both sides of the leaves.
6. Reapply as needed.
Monitor the plants regularly and reapply the vinegar spray every few days or after rain until the aphids are under control.

Use alcohol sprays 

Use alcohol sprays 
Image by All About Gardening
DifficultyEasy to intermediate ●●○○○
SpeedImmediate to medium
Things You Need• Personal protective equipment

• Water

• Isopropyl alcohol, preferably 70%

• Bottle spray

Mix some rubbing alcohol with water, but don’t let the aphids get a whiff of it at happy hour. Spray this potent concoction directly on those little suckers. 

How to Make Alcohol Sprays
1. Gather your supplies.
You will need rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) with a concentration of at least 70%, a spray bottle, and water.
2. Mix the solution.
Fill the spray bottle halfway with water. Add an equal amount of rubbing alcohol to the bottle, ensuring the alcohol concentration is 70% or higher.
For example, if you have a 16-ounce spray bottle, fill it with 8 ounces of water and 8 ounces of rubbing alcohol.
3. Shake the mixture well.
Secure the spray bottle cap tightly and shake the mixture thoroughly to ensure proper blending of water and alcohol.
4. Apply the alcohol spray.
Identify the affected plants or areas where aphids are present. Spray the alcohol solution directly on the aphids, covering them thoroughly. Be careful not to saturate the plants excessively, as high alcohol concentrations can damage certain plants.
5. Repeat as needed.
Monitor the aphid population and the health of your plants. If necessary, reapply the alcohol spray every few days until the aphids are under control.

How to Minimize Aphid Infestations

How to Minimize Aphid Infestations
Image by AgriFarming

Keeping those pesky aphids away from your precious tomato plants is a piece of cake! Don’t know how? Just follow our preventive measures.

Inspect Tomato Plants Frequently

Give your tomato plants a regular inspection, Sherlock-style. Spotting them early gives you a chance to kick them out before they throw a wild party on your plants.

Check the Foliage

Keep an eye out for these miniature mischief-makers—soft-bodied insects that come in various shades of green, yellow, black, brown, or even pink.

Look Underneath the Leaves

Gently lift those leafy layers and peek underneath. You might stumble upon a whole aphid gang chilling there.

Provide Good Plant Spacing

Provide Good Plant Spacing
Image by Tomato Bible

When plants have their personal space, they bask in sunlight, slurp up water, and feast on nutrients without wrestling their neighbors. This makes them strong and resilient, making life harder for aphids who just want to ruin the fun.

Maintain Healthy Soils

Keeping soil and plants in tip-top shape is as crucial as having a nutritious meal. Just like we need good food to stay strong and healthy, plants rely on quality soil to thrive.

Planter’s Tip: Practice Crop Rotation

Imagine you have a veggie patch, and this year you went all-in with tomatoes in one corner. Then, the year after, shake things up with beans or cucumbers. 

The cycle continues, and you keep switching up the crops in that area each year.

Grow Companion Plants

Grow Companion Plants
Image by Gardener’s Path

Planting companion plants like marigolds, basil, or dill near your tomato plants can help deter aphids and other pests. Other great options are nasturtiums, borage, calendula, and chives.


Let me introduce you to the first member of our green team: marigolds. These beauties have a smell that aphids can’t stand. 


Next up, we’ve got basil. Now, this little herb not only adds a burst of flavor to your cooking but also acts as a wingman for your tomatoes. 


Just like basil, dill has this awesome smell that aphids find repulsive. 


We’ve got nasturtiums, these colorful flowers that not only bring a pop of beauty to your garden but also unleash a peppery scent that aphids find quite unappetizing.


This herb attracts some pretty cool insects like bees and wasps, and guess what? These buzzing buddies are natural enemies of aphids. 


Oh, and we can’t forget Calendula, the cousin of Marigold. With its vibrant orange or yellow flowers, Calendula attracts hoverflies and ladybugs, the ultimate aphid hunters. 


Last but not least, we have Chives. These slender-leaved herbs with their fancy purple flowers create a natural barrier that aphids just can’t stand. 

Place Sticky Traps

Stick these traps near your tomato plants and watch aphids get caught like amateur detectives in a gluey mess. It’s like their own little sticky situation they can’t escape from.

Call in the Birds

Feathered reinforcements like sparrows and finches are the avian heroes we need. They gobble up aphids like they’re having an all-you-can-eat buffet. 


Are there chemical solutions available to eliminate aphids from tomato plants?

There are chemical solutions available to eliminate aphids from tomato plants. These are products that include organophosphates, carbamates, and systemic neonicotinoids. 

Persistent or broad-spectrum insecticides are also chemical solutions that are highly effective against aphids. However, these can be toxic and dangerous to human health and the environment.

How do aphids reproduce so quickly?

Aphids reproduce through a process called parthenogenesis, where females can give birth to live offspring without mating. This rapid reproduction allows aphid populations to multiply rapidly under favorable conditions.

Are there specific aphid-resistant tomato varieties available?

Some tomato varieties have natural resistance to aphids. These resistant varieties are bred to have traits that make it harder for aphids to feed and reproduce on the plants.

Can ants harm or help aphids on tomato plants?

Ants do not harm aphids on tomato plants. In fact, they protect aphids because they are attracted to the honeydew, the sugary substance produced by aphids. 

Ants may defend aphids from natural predators, so it’s important to manage ant populations when dealing with aphid infestations.

Can aphids survive the winter and return to tomato plants in the spring?

Some aphid species produce special eggs or overwinter in protected areas to survive the winter and return to tomato plants in the spring.

Do aphids only affect tomato plants, or can they infest other plants too?

Aphids do not only affect tomato plants, but they can also infest other plants too. Aphids are generalist pests and can infest a wide range of plants, including vegetables, fruits, flowers, and ornamental plants.

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