There are bugs that are good for the ecosystem…but not so good when they destroy your pepper plants, ruining all the hard work you’ve put into them. The most common pests that can destroy your peppers are aphids and spider mites, and these are insects you’ll want to keep FAR away from your pepper plants because they can stunt plant growth and kill your beautiful plants.
If this is something you are noticing at the moment, it’s best to keep the pests under control. It’s critical to observe your plants regularly and react as soon as you notice the problem because it will make it more difficult to get rid of the pests once they spread unfortunately.
To avoid this from happening, we have a couple of tips on how to spot them and get rid of before things get out of hand. Watch our video above on how to get rid of bugs on pepper plants.
Aphids – Small, Soft Bodied Jerk Faces
These horrific pests that have long antennae and short cornicles extending from their behind are commonly found on the underside of leaves, stems, and new growth. They will come in all shapes, sizes, and colors which can make them difficult to identify, especially when they lay eggs. They will lay eggs on the underside of leaves, hiding in plain sight but if you get a light or use the sunlight against them – shadows of the bug will be casted. Not only will you need to search for eggs, the aphids travel in large groups which are very small to see, so they can be overlooked.
We highly recommend keeping an eye out for this type of pests and especially winged Aphids. These unholy abominations will fly to new plants or sections of your garden, spreading the infestation. It’s not really nice when a bug we dislike just to start to fly, right?
What Damage Can Aphids Cause, and What Can You Do?
They can attack the plant by sucking out the nutrient rich sap in the leaves which can then leave dark spots. Because of this, they stunt plant growth and kill your plants. We have a few tips on what you can do when you see these monsters.
Squish them with your fingers and when you find one, there will unpleasantly be more. Remove the infected leaves and discard in a safe place well away from your garden and blast your plants with a hose or give it a good washing. This won’t kill the aphids, but it will remove them temporarily from your plant, which gives you some time to get rid of them properly! Just know that a lot of water or how you spray could damage your plants, especially if they are young, so be very careful with the pressure.
Besides just spraying water on your pepper plants, we have a couple of treatments you can use to get rid of them. Those treatments are using a soapy water solution, a pesticide called SMITE, and attracting ladybugs, so continue reading to find out more about these solutions.
Spider Mites – the Mitey Plant Killers
The other common pest, Spider Mites, are nasty bugs that can also kill your pepper plants. These are oval-shaped, eight-legged critters that are about the size of a single grain of sugar. Getting your plants attached by something you can’t see is the worst nightmare ever, and Spider Mites aren’t always visible to the eye. They are invisible and you’re likely need a magnifying glass, but you can still fight them with a couple of remedies.
There are many varieties of the spider mites with colors ranging from red, green, purple, black, to translucent, but the two-spotted mites (yellow-orange with a dark spot on both sides of its body) cause the most damage. A disadvantage to these bugs is that when you notice the damage, the colony is already huge so applying treatment sooner than later will be critical. Another thing to spot for just like Aphids is they will lay eggs under the pepper plants’ leaves, so you will need to observe your plants and look for them.
Spider mites aren’t harmful to humans, but they can kill plants very quickly in a span of three to four weeks, and not only that, they reproduce fast. At just five weeks old, the female starts can lay up to 100 eggs with an incubation time of just 72 hours. This is a pretty neat yet scary trick to have.
What Damage can Spider Mites Cause, and What Can You Do?
They cause irreversible damage to the plant, where they suck nutrient rich sap from the leaves and leave a web-like substance. A big sign of damage is look for yellow and brown spots on the plant – this is where the mites have fed!
There are a few ways you can do when you see Spider Mites. They enjoy hot and dry climates so try to mist your plants to drown the mites. Along with that, you can use air circulation as this will have a tremendous impact in stopping the spread of mites. Just like the Aphids, you can also use you can use a soapy water solution, a pesticide called SMITE, and attract ladybugs. Read the options below of killing pests:
Options of Killing Pests
Make a Soapy Water Solution
This is a great DIY and an almost free, go-to solution to get the job quickly. Whisk together 1 tablespoon of dawn dish soap, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, and 1 gallon of warm soft water (tap water is preferred) in a bucket.
After it’s mixed, spray and apply it in an even coat to the entire plant and coat the underside of the leaves where pests like to hide. The mix will work best when in it is in direct contact with the pests. The solution will not penetrate eggs so you will want to apply the soapy water to the plant once every four to seven days until the infestation is gone. If you wish to maximize the results, spray it in the early morning or as the sun sets so the mixture will not evaporate quickly. Just like when you use the sprinklers to water your lawn!
This solution is great at controlling infestations of many pests such as aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, and thrips.
Use SMITE – A Trusted Pesticide
Another option that you can get at Pepper Joe’s is using a trusted pesticide, SMITE, offered by Supreme Growers®. This is great at controlling all types of pest infestations and is designed to kill pests much faster than the soapy water solution. The best part about using this is it’s a pesticide built to protect your plants while killing those mean pests on contact!
This is the purest concentrate on the market that contains oils produced by cold-pressed extraction of grown Geranium, peppermint, cottonseed, and rosemary. These oils will penetrate into the pests’ abdomens and cause suffocation with higher efficiency.
Under warm conditions, you can be rest assured that SMITE will biodegrade leave minimal residue. Just like the soapy water solution, you can follow the same method and spray SMITE on plants of every age until the infestation is gone.
Although they look cute and known to be giving good luck if you’re near one, these adorable-looking bugs are predators you’ll want to have to get rid of pests! The lady beetle, or ladybug, loves to eat the aphids and other pests which is a good pet to have in our opinion. It is probably the most natural solution as well, and you can purchase them online to release in your garden. Just make sure to follow the instructions provided by the ladybug seller so you can achieve the best results.
To attract them to your pepper plants, you can plant flowers and herbs that will want them to come to your garden and have a nice meal. Certain plants that will sway them are:
Herbs that you can use that ladybugs will enjoy are:
When attracting the ladybugs, it’s a good idea to build a ladybug house or shelter (after all, they are preying on pests that you don’t want on your garden). This will give your ladybug some protection and place to rest in the evenings, as well as a place to hibernate in colder months.
When they are not feasting on the nasty pests, ladybugs enjoy drinking the nectar from flowers because just like humans and animals - they need hydration. Leave damp paper towels or leave a good water source for your new friends so they have everything they need to stay close by! If there’s nothing for a ladybug to drink or eat, they will move onto a new location.
Start Getting Rid of Pests Right Away
If you’ve ever had a pest infestation on your pepper plants, you know how serious and annoying the issue is. Aphids, Spider Mites, and other pests can be relentless, but we know you can put up a fight! The key is to act fast and catch them before they multiply and get worse.
Have you tried these solutions before? Let us know which solutions have worked for you in the comments below!
Grow Pepper Plants Now!
Don’t want to start from seed? Let Joe can do the germination work for you and get live pepper seedlings shipped right to your door in early Spring. Happy gardening!