Aphids on Chilli Pepper Plants — How I Solved The Problem

Aphids on Chilli Pepper Plants – How I Solved The Problem

About a week ago i noticed that one of my plants (an orange habanero) was infested with aphids.

Aphids (sometimes called green plant lice) are small (usually, though they can vary in size quite a bit) green insects that feed on plants mainly in temperate regions. They quickly multiply and can be very destructive, usually feeding on regions of new growth on plants.

To the right is a picture I took of the habanero plant in question. You can see that the aphids are focused mainly on the areas of new growth. I’ve found in the past that they simply demolish the new leaves/flowers as they emerge and if left to do this they’ll eventually kill the plant.

Getting Rid of Aphids – Tips & Tricks

I often hear people talking about spraying their plants with a weak soap water solution to deter the aphids from eating the plants. I tried this last year and to be frank it deterred me from eating the chillies too! It also left my plants with a stick white residue from the soap suds.

One of the big problems with using insecticides to kill aphids is that they will also often kill the predators that eat the aphids meaning you only have a short term solution to your aphid problem.

This year I decided that i would opt for a much more natural approach to my aphid control. Perhaps the greenest way of pest control in gardening is to attract the natural predators of the aphids which include ladybirds, hoverfly and crab spiders amongst others.

Natural Solutions To Aphids

Much has been been made in the press recently about the invasion of harlequin ladybirds and how they are putting many species of insects at risk of extinction. Well the good news for us chili heads is that ladybirds are the number one predator of aphids.

So your number one strategy should be to attract more ladybirds. Believe it or not the easiest way to get more ladybirds onto your chillie plants is to simply buy ladybirds via the internet ! I did this a couple of weeks ago and have had great success. I simply put the infected plant into the greenhouse and released the lady birds in there too and within two days the problem was gone!

Of course there is no guarantee that the ladybirds will stick around once they have no aphids left to eat.

Long Term Aphid Solutions

A longer term prevention strategy that has proved very effective to a good friend of mine is to buy a ladybird tower which provides any passing ladybirds with a ready made home in which to nest, ensuring you have an on site population of aphid munching beasts.

I’ve bought one of these little contraptions and placed it in the garden. I have yet to have a ladybird family move in (it has only been up about 2 weeks) but i hope that once I have some new tenants move in I should avoid any further aphid infestations in the future! I’ll keep you possted!

Hey Guys, I do have a same problem.. Today I saw a lots of aphids on my chilly plants. I wash them with water but I am afraid they will come again I would also like to use the spray of water, dishwasher liquid, chilly power and Tabasco as some of the friends told that it helps. Is there any specific dishwasher liquid or any dishwasher liquid can be used?? Plz suggest me

Any washing liquid that you use in the kitchen will do!

I have used crushed tomato leaves with garlic chilli and soap in the past, with great success. Tomato leaves as we know are poisonous and combined with garlic and chilli is a great option.

Someone suggested tobasco sauce which I think is a fantastic idea – shall try and see how i go!

I noticed aphids on my chilli plant today and made a mixture of water / store bought dishwashing liquid , cayenne pepper and quite a few drop of tobasco sauce – put it in a small spray bottle and sprayed the plant – in maybe half an hour they were all dead and i washed the plant with a garden hose –

I’ve never tried tobasco as a tool to get rid of aphids…glad to hear it worked! Maybe i’ll give it a go this spring!

I have a habanero pepper plant. It had the aphids. I made they spray w dawn dish soap and water. Now the bugs are gone but all the leaves are falling off. What can I do now!

That’s strange. Try rinsing the plant with a water spray. Hopefully you solved the bug problem in time and the new growth should come back soon.

Hi @Andrea,
The leaves are falling off because you may have putted too much dish soap. On need to worry leaves will grow again. Just make sure to mix right quantity of soap next time.

The eadyiest way to get rid of aphibs iis to put your plants outside and
Nature will kill the aphids ,ants ladybirds and parasite wasps

well I had an attack of the greenfly on my 3 cayenne chilli plants that I keep in the front porch. It acts as a greenhouse and gets the sun most of the day. I was struggling to contain the little critters until my granddaughter said that I should put some ladybirds on the plants and promptly collected 2 or 3 from the back garden.Whoosh they went through the aphids very quickly as they are voracious feeders and within 2-3 days the aphids were gone. The leaves began to look a lot healthier although it took several months for them to become green and healthy again. I would advise anybody who uses ladybirds as a pest control for aphids to use them in a confined space , (greenhouse or porch etc) as this stops the ladybirds from flying away too soon , and if the aphids come back just get some more ladybirds in. I believe they also eat the eggs as well.


I have used a garlic spray in the past, heating a number of crushed cloves in a saucepan of water, sieving out the garlic and putting the resulting ‘garlic soup’ in a spray. Maybe it works best if only one of the breeding pair has the garlic?

I’ve heard Eucalyptus is a good organic pesticide, spraying the plant with a mixture of water and oil when infested but I’m wondering if an actual plant in the greenhouse would deter the pests. Might be something to look into.

I second Sean’s suggestion. Marigolds work and really brighten up the place so it’s win win…

Try using Marigold flowers too…they are known to attract Aphids & keep pests @ bay…

I’m so pleased to have found your website, it has given me lots of info that I have been needing!This is my first chilli growing experience and I’m loving it! I’m very protective of my plants and was mortified to find the dreaded Red Sider Mite had infested most of them, but with persistant water spraying to create a humid condition, which apparently slows the breeding process (and trimming off infected leaves) I have so far (fingers and toes crossed!) kept them at bay. I have now 31 chillies on 7 plants and am nearing my first harvest. I do have a question however, I only have one perfectly red chilli among all the rest green….will they all turn red eventually or should I go ahead and harvest them green?

Lynne Sara – Glad you like the site. With regards to ripeness much depends on what varieties you are growing. some mature green, other yellow and others red. What variety are you growing?

My chili seedlings have fallen victim to aphids and i’m now wondering if I should continue to nurse them or start over. They are SLOWLY getting their 2nd leaves and some still bare their seed shells. (planted May 26ish). I’d like to save these as a good friend gave them to me.

Athena – I’d try both if i were you. Aphid damage can cause your plants growth to be stunted. I’d maybe get some more seeds in quick as a back up!

Whitle oil works well and does not leave a bad taste on the fruit.

I’ve been reading that nasturtiums are good for this. Aphids love them, so if you plant a bed of nasturtium flowers away from the plants you want to protect, they are supposed to go to the nasturtiums instead.

GP – I have never tried this type of ‘sacrificial’ planting for fear I am just attracting pests that might otherwise have passed my plants by. I may give it a go however as I have heard of others having success with it.

i must admit i have not tried this method. i have heard of other people treating aphid infestations with a chilli pepper tea solution. i’ll definitely give it a go this year.

has anybody else out there tried this method?

Have you tried making a tea with some of your peppers?Grind them, boil them in water, strain, then spray your plants. This should help control the problem.

I have had an invasion attack of mega proportion on my chillies. I am growing chillies in my garden in Durban South Africa and just seems the right temperature that aphids love. I have snipped off affected areas of the plant which eradicates them for a while but then a couple of weeks later and they are back. I am busy with spraying a soap solution but still haven\\\\\\\’t eradicated them. Disappointing as my chillies were growing like wild fire until the aphids arrived. Now out of 30 plants i have I have only produced one chilli.

I dont really want to get insecticides and although there are lady birds around they dont realise there is enough food here. http://kelbyschillies.blogspot.com

the product(in the link) will never let you down when it comes to controlling aphids on your pepper plants.It is also natural and can be applied up to the day of harvest. I use this for many pest problems in my garden.

holes on the leaves would indicate slugs or snails to me. Try taking a look at our pests and diseases section for some tips to combat these pests!

I’ve stuck all my plants out side now and they are doing ok apart from the holes in the leaves, I do hate those horrible little fly things, I wish I had a greenhouse!

Nice blog entry! I fully agree with you on the use of pesticides as I’ve had some bad experiences with Confidor killing everything it touches – including the good guys. Spider mites then moved in, and they’re a lot harder to get rid of too!

Regarding soap spray, I’ve had some good success with the Organic “green choice” dishwashing soap from Coles. It’s fully biodegradable so I’m not too worried about it getting into the soil either…

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Unfortunately, “biological control agents” don’t work too well once the pests have had time to establish themselves and are present in great numbers. I have had only limited success with lacewing larvae as their growth and generational cycle is quite slow, so you need at least 2 generations for them to really be effective, so it’s good to establish a population to safeguard the garden rather than in reaction to an outbreak.

Culling aphids with soap before releasing any predators should also work well as soap spray will only kill those insects it covers – it doesn’t hang around and poison insects which come along after the soap has dried…

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How to Get Rid of Bugs on Plants

Bugs on plants can be immensely deteriorating to the plants since they reduce the quality of the leaves and also hinder the growth. They will be needed to be removed from the plants as early as possible so that the life of the plant is sustained. Here are some easy solutions to get rid of bugs either naturally or with some convenient steps:

  1. Use Homemade Remedies

  • Take 5-6 tablespoons of dish wash liquid and mix it with 4 cups of water. Use this spray over the plants to get rid of spider mites and aphids as it is dehydrating for them.
  • Keep a neem oil spray handy. It is very helpful for being an anti-fungicide, insecticide and natural repellant to the soft-bodied insects, aphids, scale, mites, caterpillars, gypsy moth, loopers, leaf miners, etc.
  • Always keep a clove of garlic in the soil of the plants at your house to keep bugs out of the plants. Whenever sprouts of garlic etc. grow out of the plant, cut them immediately.
  1. Keep Plants Inside Your House During Winters

The best solution to bugs on plants in the winter season is to keep the plants indoors.

  • Once inside the houses, plants may grow sprouts as they are no longer in contact with predators from outdoor.
  • Beware that spider mites can survive in dry and warm houses.
  • Yes, just water. A heavy downpour from a spray pipe is the easiest solution to get rid of bugs in your plants. Water must be put at proper amounts as even more amounts can have reverse effects.
  1. Use Cooking Oil Spray

Spray this straight out of your own kitchen. It is also one of the safest methods to use for the process.

  • Take a cup of cooking oil mix it with tablespoon liquid soap for dishwashing. Use the concentrated solution to spray over plant leaves.
  • This spray can repel thrips, scales, spider mites, whiteflies, mealybugs and other such insects from your plants.
  • You can store the solution in a cool dry and dark place for future use.
  1. Use Alcohol

Alcohol doesn’t just get you drunk. It is a natural solution for spider mites.

  • Mix the alcohol (rubbing) in one part with one part of water.
  • This diluted solution can be sprayed over leaves of the plants in your house to get rid of the spider bugs.
  • One other solution is mixing isopropyl alcohol in one quart of water. This not only repels insects from houseplants but also gets rid of tropical foliage.
  1. Nicotine

  • Make nicotine tea by one cup of tobacco leaves in one gallon of warm water. Also, add one-fourth tablespoon of dishwasher soap for extra effect.
  • The tobacco leaves should be dried and crushed when you use to make nicotine tea.
  • Spray the liquid directly on the leaves.
  • Nicotine sulfate is effective for sucking insects including spider mites, aphids, thrips, spider mites, and others.
  1. Pepper Spray

  • Take 2-3 tablespoons of red pepper in 1 gallon of water. Also, add a few drops of dish liquid soap.
  • Even black pepper, ginger paprika, chili pepper or Dilli can work well if you don’t have red pepper as these also contain capsaicin.
  • It would repel insects like spider mites.
  • Oils such as basil, rosemary, rue, mint, thyme, lavender, and sage to detract insects.
  • To make a spray, leave trimmings or crushed leaves soaked overnight. Strain the leaves in the morning. Else you can dilute the essential oil in the water. Use it as a spray.
  1. Use Pyrethrum

Pyrethrum is made out of dried chrysanthemum flowers. It is an effective solution as it paralyzes insects it comes in contact with.

  • Even the company manufacturing pest control, use pyrethrum spray in order to control the mosquitoes.
  • Dilute the powder in the water and add a bit of dishwashing liquid soap.
  • Store it in a cool place to use this natural insecticide further.
  1. Use Milky Spore Powder

It is one of the most commonly used biological solutions for pest control. During the month of July or August mostly, grubs could be found in the gardens, plants, etc.

This powder tends to target the white grubs of Japanese beetles present on the upper surface. It works by germinating and multiplying in the grub itself which helps in killing it.

  1. Introduce Good Bugs

Include green lacewings, praying mantis and lady beetles and other insects that act as a predator for garden pets.

  • These are your friendly bugs. It is always advisable to buy some of these and release them in your lawn area or garden.
  • One way of tempting these good bugs is to create a habitat for them inclusive of-good shelter, water, and food for them.
  1. Plant Bugs in Potted Soil
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Reduce the amount of watering to the soil. If bugs in potted soil are excessive, go for turning and mixing soil with a hand towel.

  • The purpose behind the same is to lessen the hydration and enhance the air circulation.
  • Increased air circulation will quicken the process of drying of the soil. Keep repeating it daily.
  • This would expose the larvae of gnats to air and facilitate the killing of underground gnats.


  • Use yellow sticky traps in the pots.
  • Also, keep the plants clean and tidy.
  • Remove the broken stems, fallen leaves, and other waste as it not only serves as a food source for gnats but also organic debris that harbors the gnats.


How to Get Rid of Aphids

If your garden is showing signs of yellow or curled leaves or if your plants appear stunted or shriveled, there is a good possibility you are dealing with the garden pest known as the aphid. To see if it’s an aphid infestation, check the underside of your plant’s leaves and then learn how to get rid of aphids.

Look for either a sticky residue, which is left behind once aphids feed, or look for a large group of small quarter-inch long pests with a pear-shaped body in a variety of different colors, including white, red, brown, black, yellow, green and any shade in between. As you learn how to kill aphids on plants, you learn that the worst thing about them is how quickly they reproduce.

Getting rid of aphids on houseplants and outside plants is tricky because when you finally notice them, it’s a massive infestation. As tackling an outbreak is difficult, gardeners find it better to take preventative action.

Aphids suck the life out of plants as they feed off the sap, so you want to get rid of them before too much damage occurs. There are several natural aphid killer recipes and ideas; some serve as a preventative while others work as an insecticide.

How to Kill Aphids on Plants

Learning how to get rid of aphids before they create too much damage is vital for every gardener. Learn how to get rid of white aphids on plants, in addition to all other types of aphids. Using a home remedy for aphids on plants not only gets rid of the current infestation but helps prevent a future one from occurring.

Understanding Aphid Basics

Aphids are found in just about every garden and survive in almost every hardiness zone on the map. These soft-bodied garden pests are nearly impossible to spot with the human eye as they measure no longer than ¼ of an inch. The pear-shaped bodies feature antennae on the front and cornicles at the back.

These tiny insects come in a variety of colors, depending on the species. Due to their similarities, it is difficult to tell the nymphs apart from the adults. Most adult aphids are wingless, so that makes many of us wonder where do aphids come from if they can’t fly. Where they come from varies, as some species of aphids develop wings as part of their life cycle.

Those that develop wings fly only during the day and lose their wings after a few days. Other species spread by walking, while some use the movement of various plants, machinery, animals, and different modes of travel to get around. Unlike whiteflies, aphids do not jump, although both are often referred to as plant lice.

Aphids begin to disperse from their original colony as food quality deteriorates. With how quickly aphids reproduce, it is only a matter of time before they destroy your garden. Both adults and nymphs survive on the plant juices, where they attack the plant depends on the species.

While most aphids feed on a variety of plants, some species only feed on specific plants, such as potato aphids, rose aphid, woolly apple aphid, and many others. Aphid damage appears in a variety of ways. One of the most common is shriveled, yellowed, misshaped, or even stunted leaves.

Other signs include distorted fruits or flowers and a sticky substance on leaves and stems, which is created by their waste and is known as honeydew. Honeydew often creates sooty mold, which is a black fungal growth on leaves and branches.

Get Rid of White Aphids Naturally

For a minor aphid population, try using a cold blast of water from your garden hose. A steady stream works better to dislodge the pests, but be careful not to damage your plants and flowers. When using the hose, ensure the water hoses off the entire plant from top to bottom and pay close attention to the undersides of leaves.

Spray the plants every day until all signs of them are gone. Cold water from your garden hose works on a variety of aphid species, not just white aphids.

Kill Aphids using Homemade Insecticidal Soap

For a more significant infestation, use a low-toxicity option to kill them, not just dislodge them. Homemade insecticidal soap kills the pests without harming your plants. Insecticide soap also kills aphids’ natural enemies, such as the green lacewing.


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