The Q&A Archives: Aphids

Question: We planted four jalapeno pepper plants in a large clay pot on our deck at the beginning of the season. They have been growing like crazy. However, I recently noticed a shiny, sticky like substance all over the outside of the pot and on some of the leaves. Under further investigation I found what I believe to be aphids. I cut off the major leaves that were "infected" and sprayed them of with water, however, the aphids seem to be multiplying! What can I do to save my pepper plants? Will these aphids harm the actual peppers that have already begun to grow?

Answer: Left unchecked, an aphid population can kill a plant. Your treatment of plain water was a good one, but one that has to be repeated once - even several times a day. To kill the aphids, try using an Insecticidal Soap. It's made of fatty acids from certain plants and is effective against soft-bodied insects like aphids. Aphids are especially difficult to control because they bear live young that are capable of bearing live young almost immediately. Therefore, you can have three or more generations feeding on the same leaf and stem at the same time! You can use Insecticial Soaps every 7-10 days for control. Read and follow label directions, especially the time period you need to wait after spraying before harvesting your peppers.

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