It's time to vote on our 2017 photo contest! Vote for your favorite photos of the year here!

White fly bugs on my indoor pepper plant

San Francisco, CA

I was wondering how to get rid of these bugs with some kind of food friendly spray.
I want to harvest the peppers from this plant without any chemicals if possible.
Here is a picture.

Thumbnail by sonomagardener
Standish, MI

Try spraying with an organic spray made up of hot! hot! peppers. I would grind the hot peppers and then boil them in water until they are cooked really well. Make sure that you include the seeds and veins in the mix. After the mix cools strain out the hot pepper residue and then you should be able to spray it from some type of spray bottle.

I have had aphids on plants and this works well to repel them. White fly is a little harder to control but this method might work well for you.

Standish, MI

I need to make a correction from my last response. You don't spray the pepper residue like my last post sounded like I suggested. Spray the liquid which you probably already have figured out. Be carful when you either chop or grind the hot peppers, try not to breath the vapors they can cause eye irritation. Good Luck!

This message was edited Apr 10, 2012 1:51 PM

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Try yellow sticky traps - they should work.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Thanks, Bee! I've got them for the first time all over one tomato plant. I was told to hit 'em with a blast of soapy water, which I did last night. Will check this evening, and buy those sticky papers, too.

Where do you get them?

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Gymgirl - if you do a Google search for yellow sticky traps several sources come up.

I purchased mine from Home Harvest Garden Supply:

Be sure to purchase yellow traps - the blue ones are for thrips.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Ok. Thanks, Bee!

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

You can spray weekly with a concoction of Murphy's Oil Soap, water, a drop of orange oil, a bit of liquid molasses, and a bit of compost tea. It feeds the plants and gets rid of the white flies.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

When I spray with soap, I use my best sprayer for a fine, hard mist. The fineness makes it easier to soak every square millimeter. The harder the spray (velocity), the more likely you are to blast bugs and eggs right off the leaves and stems.

The bottle of "insecticidal soap" I bought claimed you could spray up to thye day of harvest, and the ingredients looked to me as if that was probably true.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Remember Stephanie, your recipe has some water in it too. Lol I buy sticky traps or tape at the grocery store.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Too late. Not only did I spray hard, but I rubbed the leaves too.

I checked today and the bugs are just laying there. They're not moving at all. Like little bits of fuzz with wings. They look dead...

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Lisa, please note the 2nd ingredient. LOL

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

OOPPS, I completely missed it. More then once too.

Palmerton, PA(Zone 6a)

I found this information on the Internet because they looked exactly like I had on plants that I had once..

What you have looks like they are wooly aphids.
What I use on aphids is dish soap and mouthwash in a spray bottle. The mouthwash that contains alcohol is supposed to be best but I have used others with success.

Method---- Put 3 tablespoons of mouthwash in a pint spray bottle and add 2 or 3 drops of dish soap. Don't add too much dish soap because detergent can burn the leaves if used in excess. If you don't want to use dish soap you can use insecticidal soap. Then fill the bottle with cold water. Spray in the shade or in early morning or early evening. If you spray in the evening make sure the plant has time to dry before nightfall. Repeat every couple of days or until they are all gone.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Thanks, YellowTlover.

San Francisco, CA

Wow, thanks for all the great responses, I tried spraying a little
biodegradable soap with water and that seems to have really helped.

Sticky traps sound ok, but it still doesn't deal with the eggs/little hatchlings
on the plant plus they only work once and cost $$$.

I like the idea of making a safe concoction at home and saving money.

I lost about 5 pepper flowers and 20% of the plants leaves to those
pesky flappers, but I am happy to have learned how to deal with them from
now on.

Thanks everyone and good luck bug fightin'

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

sonomagardener - I've had sticky traps hanging in my plant room for a couple of years and they are still catching flying insects. There's no need to discard the traps until they are thoroughly covered in insects.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Ewwwww! LOL!

just kidding, really!!

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

I have sticky tapes hanging in my kitchen, yes they do come down when company comes over. It sure is better then bugs or sprays in the kitchen. I get them for cheap, cheap , cheap at the hardware/feed store. I used to hang them in the barn but the horses would pull them down, guess they have nothing better to

Standish, MI

just a quick comment - did you know that Murphy's Oil soap contains a small amount of Potassium Hydroxide?

Just thought you would like to know

The Hot Pepper treatment can either be sprayed on with an atomizer or wiped on with a cloth soaked in the liquid. Use rubber gloves if you do decide to wipe on.

This treatment should not cause your peppers to tast hot if you wash them before eating

This message was edited Apr 13, 2012 5:33 PM

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

What's up with potassium hydroxide or should I already know the answer to that??

Standish, MI


I wouldn't think any of us would know off hand unless you are chemist. But when using things to handle insect problems on veggies I thought you might like to know about the chemicals that are in the mixes. With Murphys you only get about 1% but over a period of time it may be worth watching. I don't know how long the residue will last on the fruit sprayed and by washing before eating may take care of any problem that might be there.

The original post was for something that would be a food friendly spray and using Murphys may be alright but it may be worth checking into in case the residue could be a possible problem.

I would suggest going to and investigate for yourself.

This message was edited Apr 13, 2012 8:20 PM

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Oh, okay. I was thinking I should know something about that! I usually don't worry too much about it because the rain will wash it off before harvest. Then, of course, I was my produce before using.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

I cant get that link to work but isnt potassium hydroxide (Lye)? Used to make soap and drain cleaner? Thats what my Chemistry Brain is remembering. Its used in a much higher concentration Im sure but... I know its not organic and mixed with the other ingredients it has the very real possibility of synergism.

Steph was this a mixture you thought up yourself or did you read find it somewhere? I never used it, so Im just wondering. I couldnt get myself to use a cleaning product on my plants. I do use insecticides but only sparingly and as directed. But I know they have been tested. I dont always wash my garden produce. I dont feel like I need to when I only spray 2x a season. Not everybody washes their produce if they feel what they are using is safe.

Thanks gardenworm2. I do wonder what it does to the soil after being washed off again and again.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Potassium Hydroxide is just a basic form of potassium, KOH, like the "K" in N-P-K fertilizer.

Its hazard would be if it was so concentrated it burned you because of its high pH - it is basic in the sense of "acid - base". In high concentrations, caustic. I'm pretty sure that "basicity" is word ... yup.

So like most things, the danger would come from too-high a concentration. Diluted, it is just "K+" as in fetilizer, and "OH-" as in high pH. It really is true that "the dose makes the poison".

Think of a progression from limestone to hydrated lime to lye. I think that "lye" is usually sodium hydroxide (NaOH). "
Pure Potasium Hydroxide is sometimes called "Potash lye" or "Caustic potash.

Pure, dry, powdered or moist Potassium Hydroxide might well burn your skin ... hmm, yes indeedy! The MSDS says reactivity 1 or 2, corrosive irritant, and charming phrases like "immediate and serious toxic effects". So use gloves, goggles and a dust mask if you ever have a reason to buy a jar of the pure powder.

On the other hand, Murphy's Soap is about as dangerous as soap. If you get it in your eyes, flush.

I see the pH of a 1% solution is 11 - so undiluted MOS is somewhat more basic than Coca-Cola is acid, but still don't drink Murphy's Soap even diluted because the MSDS sheet eminds us:
"Repeated ingestion may be harmful."

SKIN CONTACT: No skin irritation is expected with normal use.
However, skin irritation may occur with prolonged or excessive contact.

I like this one:
"ACCIDENTAL RELEASE MEASURES: ... Spill area may be slippery."

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Lisa, it's a combination of articles I've read. Bob Webster at Shades of Green in San Antonio always suggests spraying plants with liquid seaweed & liquid molasses to control spider mites. He also suggests spraying insecticidal soap for white flies. I've sprayed a soap/water mixture on plants for years to control aphids. Compost tea is good for plants and soil. I just combined everything into one mix.

Standish, MI

It's great to see so much thought put into this. I have used a mixture of dish soap and water sprayed on Powdery Mildew and that works well probably as well as the mixture using the Murphys soap.

I put the thought out there about the Potassium Hydroxide because I wonder how much we just accept ideas and how much we investigate those ideas. From the post that I have read its easy to see that you folks are great at what you do.

Thank you, stephanietx for putting the Murphy mix out there and I'm sure that you have had great success with it. As I stated I have used a soap mix on powdery mildew and it worked. I did not spray in on the fruit but you are probably right that when used outside the rain would probably wash off the residue. Inside would be another issue but even then washing the fruit probably would remove most of the residue.

Even fertilizer residue can be toxic, but for the most part is not an issue because of the small amount that would be on the fruit. But even then as you know washing of the fruit is necessary. Even though I do not go 100% organic I appreciate any ideas that you may have in controlling insects in the garden. I have found that when I can use plant based mixes they work well.

Again its great reading your posts! Thanks!

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

I totally agree with the above post. However, sometimes when you mix ingredients in can increase/decrease the effectiveness of some or all the ingredients ie. Grapefruit Juice and certain Medications.

Im not organic, I try to not use anything but I wouldnt consider that mixture organic and would hate for people to think its organic, since there seems to be some thought process that if its home made or organic its safe. But if it works on mildew/fungus I would definitely give it a try. Im sure, due to the much needed rain its going to be a problem.

Rick-The spills are definitely slippery. LOL

Standish, MI


I agree with two things first, yes these types of soaps are not organic and second yes slippery for sure!!!!

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> I put the thought out there about the Potassium Hydroxide because I wonder how much we just accept ideas and how much we investigate those ideas.

Good point! I should remember to say
"I THINK that ..." or "someone said that ..."
as opposed to
"I have done the following myself for several years and I know it works where I live and they way I garden".

We (including me) tend to repeat things we read, and thus they become something "everyone knows" whether they are true or not.

Arlington, TX

So does this work for little black flys as well as the white ones?

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or sign up to post.