Aphids are one of the most commonly occurring pests on pepper plants. Aphids affect both sweet and chili pepper plants. Sweet pepper plants produce peppers larger in size than the average chili peppers.
The shape of sweet pepper is close to a sphere compared to that of chili peppers. In contrast, chili peppers have a somewhat oval shape.
This article will look at how aphids affect pepper plants and provide some practical solutions to this pest.
What Are Aphids?
Aphids are small insects that suck the sap out of plants. You will sometimes find them referred to as blackfly or greenfly based on aphid species and appearance.
The rate at which they breed is a cause for concern for most gardeners. They can go from a small aphid population to a large aphid infestation in very little time.
What Damage Do Aphids Cause To Pepper Plants?
The first sign of aphids on your pepper plants is the yellowing of leaves. There are other conditions and pests that can cause the same issue, so you would need to inspect the plants before you can be sure.
Once the aphids have infested the pepper plants the leaves will grow with unusual or disfigured shapes. This will also happen to the peppers themselves once they start growing.
Perhaps the biggest issue that aphids present is that they attract ants. Their excrement brings the ants to your plants.
Ants may end up feeding on the plant’s roots or simply dragging it down with additional weight. They also attract their own predators.
How To Get Rid Of Aphids On Peppers?
There are two approaches you can take when looking to get rid of aphids on pepper plants.
- A Natural Approach
- Make use of chemicals such as pesticides
The Natural Approach For Getting Rid Of Aphids
One natural approach to control an aphid population is one of creating a distraction. Introducing a plant or product that aphids prefer will draw them away from the pepper plants.
Orange and banana peels are effective pest repellents. Placing them around the stem of your plant may deter aphids.
An extract found in orange peels called d-Limonene when sprayed on aphids destroys the wax coating of their respiratory system and suffocates the aphid.
NOTE: d-Limonene is rated as an insecticide
Aphids are partial to mustard and nasturtium. Planting these plants nearby will draw the aphids away from your pepper plants.
Natural Predators or Beneficial Insects such as Ladybugs/Ladybird beetles with their high nutritional demands target soft-bodied pests such as aphids and scale.
Ground Beetles are fierce enemies Colorado potato beetles, flea beetles, thrips, aphids, and other garden pests.
Syrphid Flies or Hover Fly these active predators can consume 1,000 small insects such as aphids, thrips, and mealybugs during its young life.
Green Lacewings (Chrysopa carnea) known as “aphid lions,” possess raging appetites. They relentlessly hunt and devour hundreds of aphids during their childhood.
Parasitic Wasps naturally control aphids with the Aphidius colemani and/or Aphidius ervi wasps. These two types of wasps specialize in killing or getting rid of aphid populations.
Getting Rid Of Aphids On Pepper With Sprays
Washing aphids off the leaves or new growth is the most basic approach to aphid control. This can be done with the aim of soapy water in a spray bottle with some dish soap.
Once dislodged the aphids will not survive long. Repeat the process every few days until you get rid of the aphids. Try before introducing the orange and banana peels as mentioned above.
You can also make use of insecticidal soap to not only wash the aphids off the leaves of plants but to also deter them from returning.
Another method used to reduce aphid populations in the garden is applying sprays of neem oil or horticultural oils to achieve similar results. These come with detailed instructions on the packaging. Our favorite is Neem Oil.
Alcohol is also effective in dealing with aphids. 70% of alcohol would be ideal. It should only be applied when diluted with water at a 1:1 ratio.
Don’t forget Bug Juice. The idea of using “bug juice” for pest control concept goes back to 1960 when California gardeners began using a bug juice spray to protect their crops after the USDA in California gave the “recipe.”
Prevention tends to be a better approach. Start the season using a natural approach. Ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps feed on aphids. They do well at controlling the aphids. It also ensures that there is no time for them to breed and multiply.
Before applying any insecticides, read “What Is The Best Time To Spray Pesticide On Plants?”
When using dish soap or alcohol to kill aphids, make sure to check that they do not adversely affect the plants. This may be mentioned on the packaging. If not, take a spot testing approach.
With a spray bottle apply the dish soap or pesticide mixed with water to a small section of a plant to get an idea of how the rest will fare.