|Leaf from Capsicum chinense inhabited by various generations of Aphis fabae subsp.|
Eager to promote the healthy well being of the pepper plants I removed them from the greenhouse and set out to identify what aphid I was dealing with. There are about 4,400 species of 10 families known. My guys were brownish black and on closer inspection with a x10 microscope the cornicles (small horns on the rear) clearly visible on the abdomen suggested that the offenders are from the Aphididae family. Different aphid species generally target different plants. Pepper (Capsicum spp.) being from the Solanaceae family led me to believe that my guys are a sub specie of Aphis fabae aka blackfly. I am not certain, but it doesn't really matter in that the methods to control aphids remains the same for all species.
I set the aphid ridden plants on the kitchen table and after a while I noticed that the winged aphids had gathered in a warm corner of the kitchen window. As aphid populations grow and become crowded the females start to produce winged individuals that take to the air in order to find a fresh host plant, settle and begin to reproduce again.
|Female aphid cloning herself.|
This seemed to do the trick for all but one of the most heavily infested plants. My son, eager to get his hands on the sprayer, repeated the showering over the next few days making sure to get the water on the underside of the leaves as this is where the aphids tend to congregate.
Home made anti-aphid spray
Boil 5 large cloves of garlic and a teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a litre of water for 40 minutes. Strain it, and when cool use a mister bottle to spray it onto your plants.
|Looking pepped up after the spray :)|
For more information on these fascinating creatures click here
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