I have some kale growing in my raised bed which are getting infested with aphids. How do I get rid of those and secondly, are the kale leaves still edible (after cleaning them in hot water)?

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    Do not use hot water!! It might damage the cellular structure of the Kale leaves forget the aphids! Look up a decent recipe for a soap/water formulation to spray and try that. First use a hard spray of plain water. Then spray with the soap/water. Allow to dry. If you still see aphids, do it all over again. Aphids are actually yummy (so I've been told) and healthy! Wash your Kale in cold water before using. Not a big deal, honest! What plants grow nearby and how are they doing? For plants that are't for food, Neem, sprayed at night only is super. Might need more than one spraying..
    – stormy
    Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 23:19
  • I should clarify. I am washing kale with warm water after harvesting to get rid of aphids an other dirt on the leaves before eating. I did not quite understand your comment about neem. Are you suggesting I spray that instead of soap water? Also,, the soap/water formulation that works for you would be helpful. Too much stuff on the internet and I come to this forum for trusted advice.
    – JStorage
    Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 17:32

1 Answer 1


First and foremost, do confirm they are aphids. Pictures would help us confirm.

Once you have been attacked by aphids, you are probably going to see them again. The real long term solution is to employ lady bugs. These guys will take care of the aphid problem quite well for you.

Stormy is right. Hot water is not a good idea, unless you are talking about using hot water after harvesting them. In that case, your Kale may not taste as good and you may lose some nutritional value. For cleaning, a thorough rinse with warm water and a scrub should be sufficient.

If you want to help the plants while they are still in the bed, I repeat, hot water is not good. You then need to try a very diluted soap solution in water, and spray vigorously. You might have to do this over multiple cycles.

Herbicides are not good, in general. The mechanical wash from your spray and the establishment of lady bugs over the long term for future harvests is best. You can actually buy lady bugs at stores, and must make some previsions for them to stay and be happy in your yard. In most regions, it is too late in the year (unless you are down under) for lady bugs as a long term solution, but it ought to be one of the first things you try in Spring.

Talk to local master gardeners, nurseries and/or agricultural colleges, should you have access for specific solutions.

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    Spraying water or soap water will not work since these guys are well hidden and entrenched within the crevices of the kale leaves and hence hard to reach. How do I ensure that lady bugs won't fly away when I put them around the kale and how many lady bugs do I need?
    – JStorage
    Commented Feb 26, 2017 at 21:39
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    I have plenty of lady bugs in the yard, and they take care of all of the regular aphids and whitefly. But they won't touch the kale aphids, which are a different species.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 20:34
  • Sorry, I didn't see your comment until now. You can start by getting a small can. They wont fly too far as long as you have a good environment for them. Once established, they will be back year after year, as long as the surroundings stay the same, and it doesn't get too dry or wet, etc. Commented Mar 29, 2019 at 3:26

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