What happens to aphids after you spray them off a plant? Do they wander around until they find a new host, get rescued by ants, die, or something else?
Am I just moving them from one plant to another by spraying them off?
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Spraying aphids off plants with a jet of water forces at least some of them to wander on the ground where life is not as cozy as it is higher up in the leafy plants they like to feed upon. Yes, they often do climb or fly back to your plants, which is why you are supposed to spray pretty much every day for several days. The goal here is to weaken them enough that they either die of starvation or fungal infections or become easy prey for something else.
This is definitely not a perfect solution - but if you want to limit your pesticide use, and your aphid infestation isn't too bad, it can knock their numbers back a fair bit and at the same time allow your plants to outgrow some of the damage that was done.