Aphids and growing tomatoes seem to go together like summer and sunshine. If you find this troublesome combination in your garden, read on to find out ways people use (and what not to use!) to get rid of those sap-sucking little pests that eventually always seem to turn up in even the best-tended gardens at some time or the other.
The Inevitability of Aphids
Although it has not been scientifically proven, aphids on tomatoes seem become a problem when gardeners have a propensity to over-water or over-fertilize. Humid conditions seem to attract aphids (and as a result, ants), as does feeding your tomatoes too well.
Before you haul out the hose or the tomato food, keep this in mind. Water only as much as your tomato plants actually need and do the same about feeding them. Too much of a good thing often turns into a bad thing, and finding a thriving population of aphids on your tomato plants is one of those bad things.
Many folks pull the sevin dust off the garden shed shelf, thinking this chemical will do the job to cut the connection between aphids and tomatoes. It wont. Neither will the liquid form of sevin. Sevin will, however, kill many beneficial insects that actually prey on aphids, so only apply sevin if you intentionally want to help out your population of pet aphids.
Aphids fall under the category of insects that suck sap, and sevin works far better on insects that chew, so save the sevin for the caterpillars and other chewing pests you find in your garden, if you are intent on using it.
Don’t Go Buggy Over Aphids
To get the job done of severing all ties between aphids and tomatoes, malathion, diazinon, dursban, orthene, and pyrethrins make up the heavy artillery of chemical pesticides that kill nearly everything, including aphids, in your garden. You may be leery of eating tomatoes sprayed with such heavy-duty killers, however, and reading the labels on each of these chemicals containers may prevent you from using these on tomatoes.
Developing cancer on down the line is just not worth the perceived need to kill bugs in the garden, no matter if they are aphids or some other insect. If you must use a chemical, try insecticidal soap, instead. It is far less potent, which means it may not kill as many aphids on tomato plants, but it also may not kill YOU!
The safest means of parting the ways between aphids and tomatoes lies in an ordinary garden hose. By simply spraying off the bugs, you not only not risk poisoning beneficial insects, you never have to worry about ingesting anything toxic yourself.
You do need to take care not to set the spray too hard, or you will damage the plants. And you will also be re-spraying the plants, especially the undersides of the leaves and anywhere there is temptingly tender new growth, every few days. This can be somewhat of a hassle, but considering the alternative, is it really?
Aphids and tomatoes as a duet can be a pain in the neck, but it is not the end of the world. Leaves curling and dying cause most damage seen from aphids, and the unappetizing thought of accidentally biting into a tomato with aphids on it is not pleasant. But think about what you are doing before you do anything, and let the simplest remedy be your best solution. Considering just spraying those aphids off, and then enjoy the rest of your gardening day!