Maui Peppers vs Aphids

Helena, MT

For several years I have had problems with those little green flying aphids attacking my indoor pepper plants, Maui pepper plants especially. I would spray the potted pepper plants four or more times each day and smash as many aphids as I could find, and still they would come back in droves. I refuse to use chemical sprays and had read that worm castings was a natural method of controlling aphids and other insects that found pepper plants tasty. I tried this with vermicompost from my indoor bins, but didn't see much improvement. But another idea occurred to me.

When I feed chopped up compost worms to my fish I rinse the tiny worm pieces in a quart cottage cheese container, stirring each rinse with a DQ plastic spoon. The first rinse contains string masses of mucus like material which I presumed where concentrated chitenous material from the intestines of these worms. I began pouring the first rinse into the Maui pepper pot and after a few days I have not seen a single aphid. The first couple of days using this rinse the tops of the 2.5 gallon plastic pot containing three Maui pepper plants were covered with aphids which apparently were trying to escape the pot. I smashed hundreds of them with my fingers as they covered the rim of the pot. Although it has been only a week of this treatment I am fairly convinced this is working.

Once the weather warms the plants will be placed outside for the summer and hopefully brought back inside in the fall. Natural enemies of the aphids like lady bugs, tiny wasps and dragon flies control the aphids in the garden, however once brought back inside the pepper plants are typically covered in aphids within a couple of weeks. The real test of this chitenous aphid rinse will come in the fall.

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

String-like masses of mucus-like material from worm intestines - the aphids left the pepper plants because they're disgusted. I'd leave too, and quickly. lol

I know you don't like "chemicals", but some chemicals are produced by nature. For aphids, I like any spray using pyrethrin as the active ingredient (and with no other active ingredients). Pyrethrin is produced in the roots of chrysanthemums, its the way 'mums protect themselves against damaging bugs. It's a "liquid flyswatter", killing any bug it touches while it's wet - and then it's non-toxic once it dries. One exception, keep it away from your fish, it'd kill 'em. I guess in the nature of things, fish never get to contact pyrethrin in its dry, non-toxic state - so it has to be kept away from bodies of water.

Helena, MT

Sam, I tried pyrethrin once after leaving having left some potted pepper plants in charge of a neighbor while I was on a two week trip. She called to let me know the plants were infested with aphids. I told her I would take care of it when I got back but they must have been too far gone and the pyrethrin didn't save the plants. Probably not a good test of the pyrethrin. .

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

As you say, the plants were probably too far gone by the time you were able to do anything about it. Around here, I only use two insecticides and those VERY sparingly. I dust Sevin powder on corn silks for corn earworms (because the alternative is having earworms eat our sweet corn). Yeah, I know - mineral oil on the corn silks. Doesn't work very well.

My other ally is pyrethrin. When an infestation is very bad and visible - aprids, flea beetles, Japanese beetles, etc., it's pretty nice to spray, make sure it touches the bugs, then come back and see the spray dry and inert and the dead bugs on the ground an hour later. BTW, crappie and white bass are both running here - I'm going again tomorrow! Your Morgan's Raiders caught some enormous white bass (3 to 4 pounders) on Friday.

Helena, MT

Sam that hurts...I have been dreaming of going walleye fishing. I have to make up some new walleye lures so give me your best combinations for whites.

Head Color _________________, Blade (Hammered or Plain, Brass or Nickel finish, Willow Leaf or Indiana), Head Size (1/16th, 1/8th, 3/16th, 1/4th oz),
and Body Colors.

I am going to Estes Park next month to take RJ, my eight year old granddaughter fishing. That's all she talks about is fishing with grandpa. The kids a natural. We started her with the cork loop method at four. Just can't wait to get her out fishing for whites. They have a place near CSU where my daughter went to school which she tells me we can catch whites, which as you know is what my kids were brought up fishing for. Really miss that. Our fishery program went defunct several years ago. Terrible mistake for a state with unlimited natural resources. I don't hunt but the big problem here is the best hunting is blocked by private lands and access is only available to the very rich at a steep price, or a select few of the locals.

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