Zikthann
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Aphid control help (super hots) indoor/outdoor

i have been growing scorpion peppers for about 4 years now outside during the warm summer months indoors during the freezing winters, while outside I have no problems, its once they come in for the winter that i can't control the aphids.

i have tried ladybugs, mantises, Malathion, pepper sprays, pyola, complete soil change, soap shield, even seven. nothing works.

i need an effective cure i don't want to lose these 2 4year old plants as they produce roughly 5lbs of peppers per season now

Edit* im trying to get help here as the pepper forum i frequent suggested the nuclear option, toxic insecticide, tent and fog.

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applestar
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Re: Aphid control help (super hots) indoor/outdoor

Why do the ladybugs not work for you? I find them to be particularly helpful.

I order them right around when I first bring the plants in because I don't spray them at all -- just blast with outside hose (if that -- usually I bring them inside right after a windy fall rain storm). I get a package of 1500 that I keep in cool/cold conditions and dole out once a week to every two weeks or so in all of my growing areas in the house (say 6 different rooms). They spend inordinate amount of time climbing over/around everything and everywhere. I always purchase the package that comes with what they call "ladybug nectar" which I don't mix all at once according to instructions but mix into my daily morning filtered water mist in a handheld sprayer.

Initially especially when its still warm outside, they tend to want to go outside and a lot of them will manage to go... somewhere. But after a couple of weeks to a month, I start finding them in ones and twos on the plants and on the containers. -- sometimes as couples. Then I wait until I haven't seen them in a week's time to release some more. (I mist the net bag they are in with the dilute nectar water, too.) In the mean time, I find many that have died, as well. They are apt to drown themselves in containers of water, fly around the hot burning CFL bulbs and get burnt, find their way into house spiderwebs, etc. (I even noticed one of my still very small Venus Fly Trap had a closed trap that when backlit, contained suspiciously ladybug-shaped meal)...but thats why I start out with so many.

If you have only a few precious/valuable plants, what I would suggest is to put the plants INSIDE a cage -- I think zippered butterfly cage or a large pop up laundry basket will probably work, unless you want to build something -- cardboard box with windows cut out and replaced with window screen material maybe? Maybe tomato cage draped with fabric. Release/trap your ladybugs or other predators inside the box with the plants.

...remember that any insecticide will also kill the predators. You may have to wait until toxins are washed off/out of the plants before sending in the Garden Patrol.
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Zikthann
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Re: Aphid control help (super hots) indoor/outdoor

no idea, they all seem to die very rapidly, im lucky if 10 out of the 1500 plus pack survive a month, the aphids seem to be toxic as every predatory insect that eats them dies, the mantids wear the first try after a complete soil change, after none survived over a month i did another complete wash and soil change followed by the ladybugs from gardens alive.

ive been steadily increasing toxicity of my attempts at control over the past 3 winters its getting to the point of dangerous poisons.

edit* plus, cost is a factor as im on a very limited budget. the $15 for a new batch of ladybugs is fine, and i have enough raw materials to make a new batch of soil substrate, but the only butterfly cage that is large enough is $90+s&h. each plant is 5'x4' in a 5gl pot.. roughly 6'10" tall with pot

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applestar
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Re: Aphid control help (super hots) indoor/outdoor

In that case, I would section off a corner of a room with fabric -- ideas >> get from remnant bin at fabric store, sheer curtains from dollar/$5 store. Or do a "treatment" in the shower stall or bath tub -- you only have to worry about the top part.

Dying rapidly -- Do the ladybugs waiting to be released last? Again, I prefer ladybugs over other predators because it seems like they are pretty easy to keep in hibernation. The active ones need food and moisture to survive -- if aphids are insufficient. The nectar will feed them if they cant find the aphids. They are dehydrated on arrival and you need to make sure their enclosed cottonball hasn't dried out. Keep them in 40-50°F or in the fridge veggie drawer or top shelf or door -- somewhere that wont freeze or frost. (I put the net bag in bubble envelope for insulation)

I'm getting mine from a vendor listing on Amazon -- I've posted the link before, but I can again. They come from California, which isnt my usual practice, but they are shipping via two-day so distance hasn't been an issue. Does Gardens Alive outsource the ladybugs? Do you know how long they are in shipment?

It's the ones eating the aphids that die? If the aphids are toxic, then only reason I can think of is that your plants contain toxic residue... did you use a systemic insecticide at some point? (... huh, do you suppose the moruga scorpion pepper sap could be too strong?)
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Zikthann
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Re: Aphid control help (super hots) indoor/outdoor

none, first was live options, and there were 1-3 months between attempts, always with new soil. i didnt even try first pest control agent till second year. but could the aphids survive the 1.8mil SHU peppers and absorb enough to become toxic themselves?

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applestar
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Re: Aphid control help (super hots) indoor/outdoor

Hmmm.... OK. Let's just follow that thought. --

So I think aphids are superbly adaptable, and since they bear live young, even if the pepper sap could be toxic, just a very few that survive could produce several generations in a short time that would be genetically tolerant or immune. The ones that are still on your plants could all have adapted, while the newly purchased ladybugs don't have that tolerance. (IF you could somehow get them to survive and produce several generations feeding on scorpion immune aphids, maybe you could end up with resistant/immune ladybugs...?)

Whatever -- if you only option is to eradicate the aphids yourself, I think what I would do is start by putting the plants in a rest/near dormant state by withholding water and putting them in cooler temperature and dimmer light until the leaves start to yellow, then I would drastically prune them and defoliate them until you are only left with scaffolding/framework structure of strong branches, which would be much easier to treat with regular application of organic aphid killer like insecticidal soap or neem oil solution or spinosad. If you have two isolated areas to grow them, you could do this with just one plant as a trial.

Then after you are sure all the aphids have perished, you can bring the plant back to light and warmth to grow new leaves in a protected setting so they won't be re-infested (keep an eye out for ants that might bring new aphids from their colony stock. ) This is the tough part -- because the new peppers buds and flowerbuds are vulnerable -- you might want to get another batch of ladybugs at this point if you see aphids... OR do my bamboo skewer dipped in soapy water trick to pluck off the aphids.... OR just keep up with the weekly spray treatment.

BTW, not sure if you need to change out the soil each time -- repotting could be stressing them which would make them susceptible to pest infestation.

P.S. FWIW -- My Indoor Garden Patrol ladybugs have been protecting the Bhut Jolokia and Scotch Bonnet peppers. I have a Golden Habanero, too. Not sure if they are in any way comparable.
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imafan26
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Re: Aphid control help (super hots) indoor/outdoor

I suggest you put out some ant bait. Clean the area you are keeping the plants in really well with bleach if you have to. Take the plants to a place where you can hose down the canopy and blast as many of the aphids off as you can and dip the plants head first in a bucket of either insecticidal soap or horticultural oil (1 tablespoon per gallon of water). Dipping works better than spraying because it is the only way to get really good coverage. You may have to repeat this every 4-7 days until you don't see any more bugs. Every day inspect the plants and break out the cotton swab dipped in alcohol and rub off any aphids you find. You could put a sprayer on a 70% bottle of alcohol and spray the aphids instead. Try to space the plants as much as you can so they are not touching and run a fan in the area to provide good air movement.
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