Ask a Question forum: Aphid problem indoors! Help!

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Dec 4, 2017 5:33 PM CST
So, we had a huge outdoor vegetable garden this year. It thrived, and we never had problems with pests or anything.

We decided, when fall hit, to transplant some of our hot pepper plants indoors under our grow lights. Within a few weeks, we noticed aphids on all of the plants. We used soapy water, neem oil, and diatomaceous earth to get rid of them, and thought we'd fixed the problem.

We're growing tomato and pepper seedlings, too, though, and this morning we noticed aphids all over them.

I want to get rid of everything and start over, but my boyfriend wants to keep trying to eradicate them. We have a ton of houseplants, and I'm worried about them spreading throughout the house!

Any advice? Should we get rid of everything and start over? Get a bunch of ladybugs? I want to set the grow room on fire right now!! HELP!
Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Dec 4, 2017 5:49 PM CST
Vegetable seedlings are a struggle indoors even without pests. Aphids are persistent and require very thorough spray treatments repeatedly. Not sure its worth it. Aphids will spread to other plants.

Diatomaceous earth is not effective. Hot Pepper Wax works fairly well if you can find it.

Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Dec 4, 2017 8:02 PM CST
Soapy water 1Tbl reg dawn to gallon. No need to wash off. Every 2 or 3 days, till there all gone. Probably 10 or more days. The only ones that die, are ones you get wet.
Also at same time use, Neem oil water drench , ownce a week, it's systemic, but takes a few applications to work.

Good luck 👍
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Paula
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
Dec 4, 2017 9:32 PM CST
If you have houseplants that you value or have significance- My advice is Ditch 'em. Right now, don't even stop to read the rest of this post. And be very careful doing it. I mean like level 3 biohazard careful LOL. I'm only half kidding. Double bag them in their room, then strip off your clothes in that room and double bag them before you carry anything through the house on your way out the door. They're just seedlings, you can restart. Save the seeds from your mature peppers and start new ones. If that infestation moves ....

My advice is ditch them either way. Seedlings with an infestation aren't going to thrive, and you don't have a huge investment of time or money yet. Most of all you'll do ten times the work to try and manage this infestation with no guarantee of success as it would take to just start over. You've already given it the ol college try.

I used to like your boyfriend. I like a challenge, I like to fix things. I'm not one to throw out anything alive. BUT I've changed that tune due to experience
1) I have never successfully eradicated a houseplant pest infestation between November and May. With mother natures help, and good weather I have been successful if I could move them outside- with a hose, neem oil and systemic pesticides (the ones you put in the soil that makes the plant sap poison)- but NEVER indoors in winter in the NE. Its just too labor intensive and the conditions are ideal for pests (no natural predators). I've tried garlic, soap, nicotine, neem oil, systemic pesticides and combinations. Its infuriating.
2) I now have plants with special emotional significance- things I've kept alive for 10+ years, plants that belonged to my father or grandmother who both passed away and they can't be replaced. I would never risk one of them if I were in your shoes because at some point in the next 6 months they WILL spread. You'll get one on a shirt cuff or a shoe and walk it over. Some plants aren't that tasty to some pests, but do you want to take that risk?

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