How to Use Natural Vinegar Spray for Aphids

As soon as you notice aphids on your plants or trees, you must take action to prevent or control a full infestation.

There are many effective commercially-available chemical treatments for aphids; however, these products are worse for the environment and may harm beneficial insects like bees and ladybugs.

It’s best to try out a natural method of aphid control first, such as a natural vinegar spray.

You can kill aphids with natural vinegar spray by applying it directly to the pests on the affected plants. This DIY aphid spray works as an organic contact pesticide; it therefore must make contact with the aphids to be effective.

Natural aphid vinegar spray is easy to make yourself simply by diluting white vinegar into water. 

Why Use a Natural Aphid Spray?

There are many commercially-available aphid sprays that contain chemicals to kill aphids. However, these products should only be used as a last resort for severe infestations. Where possible, it’s always best to use a natural alternative to inorganic treatments.

Inorganic pesticides are effective at killing aphids due to the chemicals that they contain. However, when it rains or you irrigate your yard, these chemicals leach into the nearby environment and waterways. This can have disastrous consequences for the surrounding plant and wildlife.

On top of this, using chemical sprays around your yard may cause an immediate threat to your household. Chemical pesticides are highly toxic; this poses a risk to any pets or children that may inadvertently come into contact with the treatment.

As aphids tend to accumulate on fruit and vegetable crops, chemical treatments will spoil your harvest as it will be unsafe for consumption.

For these reasons, you should always opt for a natural pesticide to treat infestations of insects like aphids. It’s easy to make your own DIY aphid spray containing natural ingredients that you already have lying around your home. Common natural DIY aphid spray ingredients include soap, essential oils, and vinegar. 

Does Vinegar Kill Aphids?

Yes, vinegar does kill aphids. As well as killing aphids, vinegar will kill many other insects it comes into contact with, including ants, mosquitoes, spiders, and fruit flies. Not only does vinegar work to kill these insects, it will continue to repel them, preventing reinfestations soon after treatment. 

How Does Vinegar Kill Aphids?

Vinegar will kill aphids using its key ingredient, acetic acid. Vinegar is essentially a mixture of water and this ingredient. This makes vinegar an acidic compound, with most types having a pH level of about 2.5. The highly acidic content of vinegar is potent enough to kill aphids on contact.

When the vinegar spray makes contact with the aphids, it starts to burn the insects to death. At the same time, the vinegar will clog up pores on the aphids’ exoskeletons known as spiracles. Aphids use these pores to breathe; by clogging the pores, the vinegar will gradually cause the aphids to suffocate to death. As it works as a contact pesticide, it’s key to concentrate the vinegar spray directly onto the aphids during application.

How Long Does it Take for Vinegar to Kill Aphids?

After they come into contact with your DIY aphid spray, it should take about 10 to 12 hours for the vinegar to kill aphids. However, it may take up to two weeks of repeated applications to completely eradicate the aphids; this will depend on the extent of your infestation. You’ll need to keep monitoring the area, reapplying the vinegar spray every few days until you eliminate the last of the aphids.

Which Vinegar Can I Use to Kill Aphids?

The best type of vinegar to kill aphids is apple cider vinegar. If you don’t have this to hand, the next best choice is white vinegar. Both of these types of vinegar contain the acidity necessary to kill the aphids. Take note that you’ll need to dilute these vinegars before using them around your plants; the high level of acidity can harm plants, especially after repeated applications of the vinegar spray. 

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How to Make DIY Aphid Spray with Vinegar

Making a DIY aphid spray is easy and only requires a few common household ingredients. To make a natural vinegar spray, all you’ll need is vinegar, water, and a suitable spray bottle or pump sprayer.

You can make a natural vinegar spray for aphids using the following steps:

1. Take 1 oz of vinegar, ideally apple cider vinegar or white vinegar, and pour it into a small bucket.

2. Add 3 oz of distilled water to the bucket. This is necessary to dilute the vinegar and reduce the risk of burning your plants.

3. Stir the vinegar and water together until they are well-combined to create your natural aphid killer vinegar solution.

4. Place the solution into a spray bottle or garden pump sprayer.

How to Kill Aphids with Natural Vinegar Aphid Spray

Follow these steps to effectively use your natural vinegar spray to kill aphids. 

1. Mix Up Natural Vinegar Aphid Spray

Mix up your natural vinegar aphid spray following the instructions in the previous section, before placing it into a suitable sprayer. If you’re dealing with an extensive infestation in an outdoor area, you should use a backpack pump sprayer. For lighter infestations on outdoor plants and indoor houseplants, a spray bottle will suffice. Adjust the nozzle on your sprayer to the most concentrated setting; the vinegar spray will only be effective if you douse the aphids directly. 

2. Test Spray Before Use

When using a homemade treatment of any kind, you should always test the treatment before applying it to your plants. Spray your DIY aphid spray on a small portion of foliage of an affected plant. Observe how the foliage reacts over the next 24 to 48 hours; if no damage occurs to the plant, you can continue with the next steps.

3. Spray Aphids with Natural Aphid Spray

Spray your DIY aphid spray directly onto the aphids and the affected plants. Concentrate the spray onto the underside of leaves and the stems of plants where the aphids will cluster.

4. Monitor Plants and Repeat Applications As Necessary

In the days following application of your natural aphid spray, monitor the affected plants. You may need to repeat applications every 2 to 3 days for several weeks to kill the aphids entirely. You should also look out for signs that the vinegar is burning your plants; if you start to notice foliar damage, stop using your vinegar spray.

Will Vinegar Kill Aphids on Hibiscus?

Yes, vinegar will kill aphids on hibiscus. Aphids are one of the biggest threats to hibiscus plants as they particularly enjoy feeding on this plant. If you have an aphid infestation on your hibiscus, they will cause the leaves to turn yellow and fall off, prevent flower buds from opening, and stunt the growth of shoots. 

How to Kill Aphids on Hibiscus with Vinegar

  1. Using a garden hose, flush as much of the aphids off the hibiscus as possible. Wash the leaves, stems, and buds of the hibiscus to dislodge the aphids from the plant. 
  2. Following the guidance earlier in this article, make up a DIY aphid spray using vinegar. Test the spray on a small part of one of your hibiscus plants before usage.
  3. Spray all parts of the hibiscus with your aphid vinegar spray. Remember to focus on the underside of leaves as this is where the aphids will accumulate in highest numbers. Look around for aphids crawling nearby the hibiscus and spray those with the vinegar spray too.
  4. Monitor the area in the days following the treatment. Repeat the treatment as necessary until you have killed off the last of the aphids.

Will Vinegar Kill Aphids on Roses?

Yes, vinegar will kill aphids on roses. Roses are another plant that aphids are particularly drawn to; roses contain sweet nectar that aphids love to feed on, as well as giving off a highly attractive odor that draws the insects in. An aphid infestation will weaken your roses and ultimately shorten their lifespan.

aphids on rose

How to Kill Aphids on Roses with Vinegar

  1. Use a garden hose to knock off as many aphids from your roses as possible before the treatment. 
  2. Make up your DIY vinegar aphid spray following the guidance earlier in this article. Test your spray on a portion of the rose bush before full usage. 
  3. Spray all parts of the rose bushes with your vinegar spray. Apply the spray to any other aphids you see crawling nearby your roses.
  4. Monitor your roses over the next few days following the treatment. Repeat applications until you kill the last of the aphids. Stop using the spray if your roses show any signs of becoming burnt. 

Will Vinegar Kill Rose Bushes?

Compared to other plants, rose bushes are generally more resilient against vinegar-based treatments. However, repeated applications of vinegar may kill rose bushes over time. You should only use these treatments as a short-term fix to avoid damaging your rose bushes. 

Alternative Natural Methods to Kill Aphids

In the case that a vinegar spray isn’t suitable, there are several other natural methods you can use to kill aphids on indoor and outdoor plants. Alternative methods include diatomaceous earth, neem oil, and soap spray. 

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a natural substance you can use to kill aphids without harming the surrounding plants. This is a powder made from ground-up sedimentary rock that contains the fossilized remains of small aquatic organisms called diatoms. 

On a microscopic level, the particles of the diatomaceous earth have razor-sharp edges. These particles are too small to harm larger creatures like humans or pets; however, they are deadly for smaller soft-bodied insects such as aphids. You can therefore effectively kill aphids with diatomaceous earth as an alternative to vinegar spray.

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Neem Oil

Neem oil is another naturally-occurring pesticide you can use to kill aphids. This is an oil derived from the seeds of the neem tree with a powerful odor and natural insect-repellent properties.

Neem oil contains a few different substances that kill insects, the main of which being a component called azadirachtin. This substance impacts the feeding and reproduction process of insects like aphids.

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