I’m growing a variety of exotic hot peppers (ghost pepper, exotic habaneros, etc) outdoors on my porch. The last season I had some issues with aphids and large green worms, right now the pepper plants have dropped almost all of the leaves and are getting ready to sprout new ones for the new season. I am wondering what kind of sprays or other methods there are to control or even remove the parasites that will not kill both the pepper plants or me.
Aphids are a pain and can really stunt the growth of a plant. Worms or caterpillars can cause a lot of damage to a plant in a short amount of time. Preventative treatments are always the best bet for a pest free harvest. I had a problem with aphids and caterpillars a few years ago. I actually grow different chilies and peppers also. I grow Bhut Jolokias (or ghost peppers), chocolate habaneros, Trinidad scorpion chilies and bell peppers. I’m also going to be planting some Hatch Valley New Mexico Green Chiles. Most of my chilies are actually on their 3rd season.
It was my first season when I got “hit” with those pesky pests…. APHIDS AND WORMS/CATERPILLARS!!!!!!! Most of the worms were green, although I did find a few on my yellow sunflowers and the worms/caterpillars were yellow……I guess ”you really are what you eat”…..Anyways, the aphids loved the new growth and the worms loved it all.
Even though the bugs came at the plants strong I was able to control, then get rid of the problem 98-99% (outdoors is never 100%, always stay on your toes). It was a continuous fight throughout the first season. Now, I practice preventative treatments using the same products I use to fight the bugs head on. I have been infestation free since. In my opinion the best products for worms and caterpillars is either Monterrey Garden Insect Spray (Spinosad) or Safer Caterpillar Killer (bacillus thuringiensis var. Kurstaki). I use Azamax when dealing with aphids. All 3 of these products are organic and have proven very effective for me. You just have to be persistent when fighting pests or just preventing. Set a schedule and stick to it! I usually spray every 3-4 days if the infestation is present. For preventative treatment I spray once a week alternating w/ House and Garden Magic Green. Remember not to spray the plants when in sunlight, for this may result in burn and can kill the plant.