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!
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.
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!
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..