Several types of insects commonly plague tomato plants. In large quantities, small insects called aphids may literally suck the life out of your plants. To grow the best tomato plants you can, and produce a high fruit yield, you must control these pests. Depending on your gardening style, you can choose to control aphids through organic means or through commercial pesticides. Both options are highly effective, although sometimes controlling insects organically requires a little more effort.
How to Get Rid of Aphids Organically
Release ladybugs into your vegetable garden; these bugs enjoy eating aphids and are a good way to control aphid population without using sprays. You can buy bags of live ladybugs in some garden stores, or order them online. However, choose this method only if you don't intend to spray with organic pest control sprays as well--the sprays will kill the ladybugs and defeat the purpose.
Kill aphids manually. To find them, check the leaves, especially where they meet the stems, and squash as many as you can. When killed, aphids release a chemical noted by other aphids, who will drop from the plant.
Use an organic soap or spray. One easy homemade spray consists of 1 tbsp. Castile soap (find this at natural stores) per gallon of water. Mix this in a sprayer or spray bottle and spray liberally over your tomato plants. You'll find other organic sprays, such as garlic oil spray, at any garden store that sells organic supplies. You'll usually need to spray these mixtures every few days until you don't notice any more living aphids.
How to Get Rid of Aphids with Chemical Pesticides
Put on rubber gloves, safety glasses and a respirator (N95 or a painter's mask) to protect yourself from the chemical. Choose a calm day with little breeze to avoid accidental contact with the spray. Spray in the morning, evening or on a cloudy day when the sun is not the strongest to avoid scorching the tomato leaves.
Use a premixed pesticide in a spray bottle, unless your garden is very large. In the latter case, you may need to use a concentrated formula and mix it with water in a sprayer.
Spray the foliage of the plants, covering all leaves and stems. Avoid touching the plant until the pesticide has dried. One application is often all that is necessary.
About this Author
Corey M. Mackenzie is a professional freelance writer with knowledge and experience in many areas. Corey received a B.A. with honors from Wichita State University and has been a writer for over two decades. Corey specializes in pets, interior decorating, health care, gardening, fashion, relationships, home improvement and forensic science. Corey's articles have appeared in Garden Guides, Travels and other websites online.