Serbanero
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Habanero pepper plants invaded by "flies"

Hey guys,

I planted Habanero seeds a few months back, and I tried giving the plants ideal water quantity (i.e. not a lot), idea sun conditions (mostly morning sun), and plant it in more sandy soil. Since, they've been invaded by the larvae of these flies (that's the best way I can identify them as I'm not quite sure what they are). I made a post about it here https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... 81&t=61029, where you can see pictures of the initial invasion.

So I did what was suggested to me. I washed the plants under tepid water to get all the bugs off, and bought some Potassium salt spray and applied it as instructed on the container. This seemed to work for a little while, and the plants started sprouting new leaves. But then, all the larger leaves started getting attacked and would fall off.
pic1.jpg
As you can see in the picture above, all of this plant's leaves are small, because all of the larger ones have fallen off. It keeps producing new leaves, and as they grow, they all end up becoming diseased due to these insects.
pic2.jpg
In this picture, you can see what these pests look like on the leaf, and on the underside of another leaf. Their color ranges from Black, to brown, to white (looks like ash) when/if they die and don't make it to adulthood (i.e. a fly-looking bug)

Here's another image of what the leaves looks like when they've fallen off.
pic3.jpg
Finally, I was wondering whether or not I should be trimming these ends here:
pic4.jpg
Please help me out, the plants and I have been fighting these bugs for a few months and I really don't want to give up now. Thank you all so much for the help.

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applestar
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Re: Habanero pepper plants invaded by "flies"

I see aphids in the third photo. They are that persistent and because they attack the tender unfolding new buds which are difficult to treat, I find it nearly impossible to avoid causing damage to the leaves from the treatments intended to eliminate the aphids.

So this is MY answer to aphid infestation: :arrow: Subject: Embrace Your INNER APE –dealing with APHIDS >> got ladybugs

You didn't say where you are. If you are in the USA, I find it very easy to order them via Amazon -- I think I included the link in that thread.

Check for ants. Source of the aphids is almost always ants here. The spring thaw causes flooding in their nests, and they try to move in. Also, their scouts must think the warmer environment and my indoor "jungle" the perfect pasture to bring their aphid flock. :evil:
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imafan26
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Re: Habanero pepper plants invaded by "flies"

That is a heavy infestation. Being in the house does not help since predators can't really get to them. Apple's post is a good one.

If you don't want to start over you can try.

First take the plant outside and use a hose with a spray tip and use the jet setting to blast as many of the aphids off as you can.

In a 5 gallon pail, mix 4 tablespoons of neem in the water. Cover the soil in the pot with newspaper so when you hold the plant upside down the soil will stay in the pot.

Dunk the top of pepper as far down the stem you can get into the pail of neem and water and if you can prop the pot on a couple of slats or dowels that go across the bucket and let the plant sit there for about 10 minutes.

Take the plant out of the bucket and check under the leaves and the stems if there are any aphids left. If you see some, blast the plant with a jet of water again outside.

Lastly, with cotton swab dipped in alcohol rub off any of the critters that may be on the lower part of the pepper stem and any aphids that may still be clinging to the plant.

Every day inspect the plant and you can put a cleaned sprayer on a bottle of alcohol and spray the undersides of the leaves and stems if you see anything.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Serbanero
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Re: Habanero pepper plants invaded by "flies"

What about killing them in the soil to prevent recurrence?

imafan26
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Re: Habanero pepper plants invaded by "flies"

They usually are not in the soil. You should put out ant bait since they are carried from plant to plant and up to the newer leaves by ants. Most aphids are wingless, but a few will grow wings and fly.

Usually if you can get the pepper to a place with better air circulation and preferably outside where the ladybugs and other predators can eat the aphids it would be better. Insects will always attack the weakest plants first, so doing everything to keep your plant healthy will help it survive better.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Serbanero
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Re: Habanero pepper plants invaded by "flies"

UPDATE: So I followed imafan26's advice, and unfortunately the plants did not survive the Neem "infusion" :(. All the leaves are falling off and "atrophying". Would it be possible to just cut the stem and "regrow" the plant, or do I need to replant seed?

imafan26
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Re: Habanero pepper plants invaded by "flies"

Sorry to hear about that. You can cut the stem but the plant has been under stress for so long, it may not have enough energy to survive especially since it struggled to keep the leaves.

I would sanitize the area. Get rid of the soil and do not reuse it, put it out in the yard. Wash the pot with 10% bleach solution. Aphids and most sucking insects need living hosts to thrive, so wait a while for them to die off. Keep the area sanitized you may have to repeat and keep the ant bait out.

https://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7404.html
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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