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Natural Aphid Control

Almost exactly one year on from my last battle and the aphids are back. I was actually getting excited that small flower buds are starting to form on most of my plants when I noticed the familiar sight of lots of tiny green monsters gathering around the new growth shoots at the tops of the plants.

I’m not sure about anyone else but it seems that aphids seem to be more of a problem when growing plants indoors (in my case in the chilli house). Does anyone else think this is the case? I guess it would make sense because there is less access for predators to hunt them down.

Initially i thought the problem was only limited to a couple of plants however a careful inspection found the majority of plants to be infested. My scotch bonnet initially looked to be in the clear however when I tried to hand pollinate it i was gutted to see the inside of the two open flowers covered with aphids.

How I Treat Aphids

As soon as i spotted the problem i mixed up a few drops of washing up liquid with water and sprayed the infected areas. The theory is that aphids breathe through the pores in their stomachs and the liquid soap blocks these up.The soap washes off after a day or two and has no ill effect on your plants or chillies.

Anyway next morning i went out to check the plants and was pleased to see a ladybird happily munching away on the aphids. I mentioned last year about the benefits of encouraging natural predators can be to controlling pests like aphids.  Our new garden has a number of ladybird nest boxes dotted around and as a result plenty of ladybirds – the perfect natural aphid control!

lady bird searching for aphids

Natural Aphid Control

After watching this little fella happily chewing on the aphids for about an hour i’m going to try to leave the plants outside (weather permitting) as much as possible until the problem has cleared up. Hopefully I caught them in time and not too much damage appears to have been done to my chilli plants.

Natural Aphid Control

Lady Bird Eating An Aphid

It was fascinating to watch this ladybird systematically eat all of the aphids on one of my cayenne plants. He even tried to have a nibble at me, flying off the plant and into my eye when i got the camera too close, only to land back on the plant to finish his meal after I had backed off a bit!

Searching For Aphids

Searching For More Aphids

So be warned, keep a close eye on your plants as aphids can be quite tricky to spot and can cause a lot of damage in not much time at all and maybe consider grabbing a couple of ladybird nest boxes as a precaution..

5 comments… add one
  • Nick August 23, 2012, 3:42 pm

    I am also having problems with aphids – tomato leaf water is proving to be very effective! Just soaking leaves overnight, filtering, and then spraying a couple of times a day is really keeping them away.

  • Gordzilla August 24, 2010, 1:55 pm

    I’ve got masses of the little green buggers in my greenhouse, I don’t want to go down thee chemical route to clear them up so I’ll give this a go. Failing tha, I got 25 ladybirds on order and they should be with me in the next few days. Time to unleash Hell boys!

  • Damo July 25, 2010, 11:58 pm

    Milk’s the way to go, the cream off a pint of gold top into a fine mist spray bottle and the fatty acids will dissolve any soft-bodied critter. Works like a dream. If you’re worried about any smell leave the milk for a couple of hours or so to work it’s magic then rinse off with water before it starts to go off.

    • The Chilli King July 26, 2010, 10:33 am

      Damo – Thanks for the tip, i’ve not heard of this one before though i’ll certainly give it a go., My plants are suffering badly this year.

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