Aphids on Pepper Plants: The 5 BEST Ways to Get Rid of (& Prevent!) Them

Seeing some tiny green bugs all over your pepper plants?

It seems like aphids are always lurking around, but you rarely notice them. Once you see one, you see tons of them multiply seemingly out of nowhere!

aphids on pepper flower
I found these aphids on a pepper flower in the garden

Unfortunately, pepper plants are a common target for aphids. These sap-sucking insects can cause serious damage to the plant, and often lead to reduced yields or even loss of the crop.

Let’s learn to find aphids before they cause tons of damage, and put in aphid control methods so we have healthy pepper plants this season.

What are Aphids?

Aphids are small insects that feed on the sap of plants. They can be found on a wide variety of different plants, including tomatoes, peppers, and even lettuce and leafy vegetables.

If you find them in your garden, its best to get rid of them as quickly as you can because they multiply like crazy.

The types of aphids found on pepper plants are typical the green peach aphids and potato aphids.

Potato AphidGreen Peach Aphid
potato aphid on branchgreen peach aphids
ColoringPink, light green, or pink & greenPale yellow or green
ShapePear-shapedPear-shaped

Aphid Infestation & Damage

Aphids are not something you want to find on your plants because of two reasons:

  1. They can transmit different plant diseases, carrying it from one plant to another.
  2. They feed on the sap in leaves, which can stress out the plants enough to stunt growth.

Aphids feed on plant sap so causing stunted growth, wilting leaves, and even yellowing of the leaves.

They can also transmit plant viruses like cucumber mosaic and pepper mild mottle viruses.

aphids on tomato plants

How to Get Rid of Aphids on Pepper Plants

Alright, let’s talk about how we can get rid of and start controlling aphids in the garden.

1. Hand Removal

This is the most straightforward method if you catch an aphid infestation early.

If you only see a few aphids here and there, it’s best to just squash or remove them yourself. Since these bugs reproduce really fast (in as little time), if we take the effort of going out in search for remedy treatment at grocery store – plus coming back later on next day- then by all means count your blessings because colony might have doubled!

Aphids won’t bite you, so you can just squash them between your fingertips right on the leaves.

2. Spraying Aphids Off Your Plants

As the infestation gets to be more severe, you’re going to want to take more extreme measures. Luckily, you can spray them off the plant with a strong stream of water from a hose or watering wand.

If the plant is young and has delicate pepper leaves that won’t be able to handle a strong spray, you can dip the entire leaf into a jar of room temperature water to remove the aphids.

3. Natural Sprays

Natural sprays can help kill aphids and reduce the reoccurrence of aphid infestations for a little while.

Neem oil is one of my favorite aphid killing methods because it works quite well on many insects, aphids being one of them. It’s organic and deemed safe for vegetables and other plants you intend to consume.

Pure neem oil is an excellent way to help stop the aphid damage can do. It removes their ability feed and eventually kill them off, giving your plants plenty of time for recovery!

06/26/2022 01:58 pm GMT

4. Insecticidal Soap

You can purchase insecticidal soaps like this one that will help with getting rid of aphid colonies.

You can also make your own DIY soap with a few ingredients:

  • Dish soap (natural, free of perfumes)
  • Water
  • Vegetable oil
  • Spray bottle

Make sure you’re using a dish soap that doesn’t contain a lot of additives – we are spraying this on your plants that you’ll eventually eat and those additives can also impact plant growth.

Add 1 teaspoon of soap and 1 teaspoon of oil, to a half gallon of water and spray on the plants. Since most aphids are found on the bottom side of the pepper plant leaves, start by spraying there.

The soapy water will suffocate the aphids and they will eventually fall off the plant.

5. Introduce Natural Predators & Beneficial Insects

You can attract the bugs and predators that feed on aphids. This method is quite natural, but it may not be as effective than using other methods like pesticides or insecticidal soap.

Natural predators to aphids include:

  • Lady bugs/lady beetles
  • Damsel bugs
  • Small parasitic wasps
  • Syrphid fly larva

Ladybugs eat aphids in their natural environment, and you can either buy huge colonies of these insects (yes, you can get them on Amazon!), or plant flowering plants that attract them to the area – see companion planting below.

Deter Aphids and Prevent the Damage

There are some ways to prevent aphids from making it to your pepper plants in the first place. Of course, if you’re already dealing with an infestation, you’ll want to go with some of the methods above.

Proper Spacing and Pruning of Your Pepper Plants

Making sure you are spacing your peppers properly is super important.

If you plant peppers too close together, you are going to reduce the amount of air flow that can pass between plants. You’re also overcrowding the plants enough that aphid populations (and other pests) can move from one to the next very easily.

Proper pruning of the pepper plant is also essential for getting rid of excess branches and leaves that might be wilting or riddled with fungus.

Companion Planting

Companion planting is the practice of growing two or more plants together in order to help one another.

There are many benefits to companion planting, including reduced need for pesticides and increased yields from your garden. Some plants can help protect other crops from fungal diseases or produce chemicals that repel pests or attract beneficial aphid predators and parasites.

Some great pepper companion plants are:

  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Dill
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Petunias
  • Rosemary
  • Marigolds

These companions can help improve the health and growth of pepper plants, by repelling pests like aphids and helping to prevent fungal diseases.

pink ladybug

Attract Lady Bugs

Making your garden a nice hope for lady bugs is a great way to prevent large aphid infestations.

Lady bugs are attracted to quite a few plants in the garden, including:

  • Dandelion
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Parsley
  • Tansy
  • Marigolds
  • Chives
  • Calendula
  • Fennel

No wonder seeing ladybugs around is considered so lucky!

Row Covers

Row covers can come in handy when trying to control aphids if you typically get large infestations in the growing season. This isn’t a perfect method but can help repel aphids by making it extremely hard for them to reach your plants.

Row covers can also be used to protect from as shade cloth to protect plants from the heat and cold.

As pepper plants grow, it can be hard to keep these on as they will need to be pollinated to produce pepper fruits, and they can get quite tall so you’d need a lot of them.

But as an early season prevention method, it can work quite well on younger plants.

Inspect Plants Regularly

I like to check my plants every few days for signs of aphids. You can check your plants every morning when watering, or at least every few days.

Aphids on Pepper Plants

Aphids are so common in backyard gardens that if you don’t experience them at some point, are you even a gardener?

Aphids leave behind a sticky substance and can cause stress to your pepper plants. Getting rid of aphids organically can be done, and helps keep these garden pests at bay.

Do you have any other methods you’ve used to keep them from taking over your plants? Let me know in the comments!

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AUTHOR

Hi - I'm Chenell! I'm on a mission to learn how to grow my own food, and help other people do the same.

I lived in the city for almost a decade, but after moving to the suburbs, I started making my Iowa blood proud and growing all kinds of food 🌽 I started this website to help keep track of the journey while teaching others the mistakes and things I'm learning along the way. You can follow along with the journey and learn more here.

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