How to get rid of bugs on pepper plants.

How to Get Rid of Bugs on Pepper Plants (Naturally)

So, you have a bunch of bugs crawling, breeding, and feeding on your pepper plants.

They’re leaving behind leaf damage, holes in the foliage, webs and sticky soot.

And they’re enjoying the fruits of YOUR hard labor.

So let’s find out what you can do to keep these bugs off your capsicum.

In this guide, we’ll talk about:

  • The types of bugs that eat pepper plants
  • Different ways to get rid of aphids, mites, whiteflies, greenflies, thrips, and more
  • How to keep bugs off and repel them from your chili plants
  • Various insect exclusion, sprays, and DIY home remedies you can use
  • And more!

By the end of this guide, you should have a good understanding of what’s eating your peppers and how to control, manage, and eradicate them.

Bookmark this page so you can easily refer to it (if needed). And as always, feel free to a post a comment or get in touch with me if you have any questions.

Sound good? Let’s enjoy those peppers- without pests.

What kind of bugs eat pepper plant leaves?

Pepper plants clear of bugs.
Delicious, pest-free peppers.

There are dozens of different pests that favor pepper plants.

Some of the most common capsicum pests are the following:

  • Aphids
  • Whiteflies
  • Spider mites
  • Two-spotted mites
  • Broadleaf mites
  • Potato psyllids
  • Western flower thrips
  • Pepper maggots

Depending on where you live and your insect exclusion rating, the type of bug you’ll find varies. In this guide, we’ll cover how to get rid of the most popular ones that could be eating your pepper plants.

What pepper plants are often pest infested?

Bugs will each each and every plant on the planet.

But some peppers are more prone to bug infestations compared to others.

You’ll often find that homegrown crops like tabasco, jalapeño, cayenne, scotch bonnet, poblano, Anaheim chili, banana pepper, cajun pepper, Serrano pepper, etc.

It could be that insects like to seek out these vulnerable crops or just because they’re popular in the home garden they have a higher rate of reported infestations.

How do I keep bugs from eating my peppers?

The process usually involves a series of extermination, repellents, traps, and exclusion of future pests.

We’ll cover each step in detail as we snake our way through this guide.

You can usually keep them off your peppers by using a spray combined with a strong essential oil, trap, or sticky tape.

What is eating my plants at night?

Pepper plant eaten overnight.
Slugs, snails, and caterpillars are all nocturnal creatures.

This is likely either a slug, snail, caterpillar, or hornworm.

All of these tend to feed overnight or in the early morning, which you may assume the damage was done at night. Hornworms are extremely common in pepper plants and consume only when the sun is down.

They’re the larvae of a moth that hide on the opposite side of leaves during the day and come out to eat overnight.

Caterpillars will also hide during the day and only feed at night.

Both will do major damage to your crop if ignored. You can refer to this guide for controlling caterpillars.

As for hornworms, they can be controlled with many of the same techniques as caterpillars- Bt, exclusion, dish soap, removal manually, diatomaceous earth, or neem oil.

How to get rid of bugs on pepper plants

Jalapeno peppers freshly harvested.
You can harvests like these- pest free!

Here are some natural home remedies you can utilize to control, manage, and eradicate pests on your chili plants.

Remember that no single technique works for every insect infestation.

I suggest trying multiple methods at the same time and seeing what works for you. Then scale it up.

The DIY solutions here are specific to their pest.

First, find the bug that’s eating your pepper. Then use a method to eliminate it. If you don’t know what’s eating it, read each insect biography and see if you can identify it on this page.

Use soapy water

Dish soap and water is the magic solution to nearly all pest problems on most plants.

If the infestation of bugs is light, soap and water generally is enough to purge the crop of any active bug problem. Mix a few tablespoons of dish detergent in a spray bottle with a quart of water.

You can use Dawn, which seems to be the preferred soap amongst DIY gardeners.

Though I found any generic brand works fine.

The trick is to spray your plant when you see these insects eating it. If you just spray randomly, you’ll do nothing but damage the plant.

Dish soap doesn’t work that well as a repellent. Don’t use it as a repellent, because it’s a weak one. Use it as an active pesticide. The soap will drown the bugs you spray it over instantly.

So it’s almost an “upon contact” pest killer that’s relatively safe and easy to do it yourself at home.

Remember that even though pepper plants are hardy, you’ll want to test the spray on a single part of the plant first.

If you notice burning or other harm to the plant, dilute it more with more water or add less soap.

Apply it daily until the pests are gone. It works well for aphids, caterpillars, slugs, potato beetles, cutworms, flea beetles, and weevils.

Dish soap proves to be a favorite in the community for pest control- DIY style!

Try essential oils

Essential oils have always been a natural solution to kill and repel a variety of garden pests- everything from fire ants to household bats.

Some of the most common bugs that eat capsicin plants are killed or deterred through the use of essential oils.

Depending on the type of bug you’re dealing with, the type of essential oil you’ll need varies.

Try using neem oil, peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, or lavender oil. These have been proven to be effective against insects when used properly.

Note that the oil you purchase will be concentrated, so you’ll have to dilute it before you spray. Some oils are also dangerous for humans or pets, so do your research before applying.

Neem oil is special. It needs to be applied before or after the sun rises or sets.

Basically, don’t spray it when the sun is out. It can burn your plants. It also needs to be washed after you spray because you don’t want any excess neem sitting on the leaves of your chili plants.

This oil kills bugs like no other, but it’s very easy to kill your plant too if you’re not careful. I suggest you read some guides about proper usage, read some sample neem oil MSDS, or watch some videos online on how to use it if you decide to do so.

For example, this video shows you the process of diluting it to prepare it for usage on plants:

Lastly, get organic essential oils when possible.

After all, you’ll be eating the pepper you harvest, right?

So why cover it with some nasty compounds behind on your crops, which you don’t want to eat.


Feeling lost? No time? No energy?

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Call operators are available 8AM-Midnight Monday thru Friday, 8AM-8PM Weekends (All times Eastern).

So stay organic and natural when possible. It’s definitely a choice to get rid of pepper plant bugs using only natural means.

There’s no need for poisons and sprays when you have the power of home remedies!

Remove pests manually

Don’t underestimate the power of removing the bugs through hard labor.

Here are some different ways you can control and eradicate those pesky pests with no sprays, insecticides, or other dangerous synthetic ingredients.

All you need is what you already have!

Use a brush

A paintbrush and a bucket of soapy water can do wonders for eliminating the pests on your pepper plants.

Position the bucket right below the pepper plant and start using the brush to gently brush off the insects. They’ll fall down into the soapy water and drown.

This works well against non-flying insects and will clean them off the plant.

Be sure to check in, around, and below leaves and flowers. The first time you remove them manually will be the most effective.

Following sessions will have fewer and fewer bugs each time. This means it’s working. If you continue to see a lot of bugs or even more, you need to change your strategy.

This kills eggs and larvae as well.

Sponge

Similar to the brushing technique, the sponge can also be very thorough and clean up extremely small bugs that you may not see from brushing.

Make a soap solution and dunk the sponge into it to saturate it with detergent.

Start “cleaning” the pepper plant. Get every nook and cranny. Shove the sponge into tight areas, or use a tiny brush to get the flowers.

You can also cut the sponge to size if needed so you can clean all the hard to reach areas of your plant.

Run the brush along the stem, leaves, and around the crop. The sponge’s surface will absorb and kill any eggs or microscopic pests hiding on your plant.

It’s very efficient and works well for small pests that are hard to see.

You can add a few drops of essential oils that repel pepper plant bugs to have a residual effect on your plant. This will clean and keep bugs off for good.

Hose

Using a garden hose on the lowest water pressure setting can help blow off bugs that are hiding in your capsicum.

The water effectively loses its grip and rushes them off the plant. If you repeat this whenever you water your plants, you can significantly reduce the insect population and sometimes even eliminate it.

Not only does it remove them without the use of dangerous compounds, but it also helps deter them from staying in your plant’s foliage because of the constant disturbance of watering sessions.

One thing you need to watch out for is to make sure you have well-draining soil. If all the water you pump onto your plants become waterlogged, it can lead to rot or powdery mildew on your pepper plants.

They don’t like to be submerged with water either, as capsicum plants are extremely drought tolerant and don’t need to be overwatered. So you can dehydrate the bugs without killing the plant.

Repeat this approach once every other day in parts of your plant that are buzzing with insect activity.

Vacuum

You can suck up the bugs using a small portable vacuum. Any shop vac will do.

Use the nozzle attachment and graze your plant slowly and carefully to remove any pests crawling on it. Empty the vacuum bag or canister when you’re done.

Vacuuming will temporarily get rid of the bugs, but with repeated exercise, it can greatly reduce the pest population combined with other remedies.

Don’t overlook the power of a simple handheld vacuum cleaner.

Or just plain gloves

If you don’t have any tools, put on some garden gloves and pick them off.

Use a bucket of soapy water and toss the bugs into it.

This works best if you check your capsicum daily and peel off any large bugs, like slugs, snails, and caterpillars. Toss them into the soapy water and it’ll kill them. Repeat as necessary.

Don’t let them sit on your plant because they’ll deposit eggs or gobble up the flowers.

Peeling them off with your fingers isn’t efficient, but if you don’t have a severe pest problem, it can help control and manage the bug problem.

You can also use tweezers for parts of your plant that are hard to reach.

Check under flowers, leaves, and on the opposite side of stalks.

Don’t forget to check the soil also. Repeat daily as needed. Note that some garden slugs and snails only come out at night.

So if you wake up in the morning and see eaten flowers or leaves, it’s likely the work of a nighttime pest.

Regardless, constantly checking your plant will help you monitor what’s happening to the plant and when.

Aphids, green peach (Myzus persicae)

Cayenne pepper aphid control.
Cayenne pepper is a natural aphid repellent.

Aphids are one of the most common pests you’ll find on pepper plants (or any plant in general).

These persistent buggers will chew up your capsicum nonstop if you don’t take action and do something about them, so act quickly.

I’ll dedicated a detailed section just for aphids because they’re way too prevalent.

Since aphids are so common, there are literally dozens of different techniques created by gardeners to get rid of them.

Here are some of the most popular ones:

Neem oil

Neem oil that’s made with azadirachtin (cold-pressed) can be an effective way to control aphids on your pepper plants.

Neem oil extract won’t work right away and will take time to do anything, but over time, you should see the population of the buggers drop dramatically.

It works by disrupting the aphid life cycle and stops them from breeding.

Neem oil should be diluted because if you just spray it as it, you’ll burn your plant. You can find recipes for dilution online.

Only apply neem during the early morning or nighttime hours. Never spray directly on your peppers. The coat of neem burns the plant in direct sun.

Attract ladybugs

Ladybugs can help eat small aphids and aphid eggs.

They’re often sought after for natural pest control, as these critters will eat anything from muskmelon bugs to sawflies.

Ladybugs also don’t harm your pepper plants while they eat the aphids and other pests that do. And the best part is that they’ll automatically leave your plants when there are no more bugs for them to eat.

So they don’t take much effort from you other than attracting them to your yard or buying and releasing them.

Either way works. If you have an abundant number of ladybugs native to your area, you can set up your garden to be more favorable to them and bring in more ladybugs.

Otherwise, you can buy and release them.

Order ladybugs in bulk online and then release them in batches around your garden. The seller should have some directions on how to do this.

Alternatively, you can bring your pepper plants into a greenhouse. If you have miniature plants, put them indoors in a mini greenhouse.

Release the ladybugs inside and they’ll be contained. They’ll continue to eat up all the bugs over time.

And they won’t be able to escape until you release them. This saves you money so you don’t have to keep buying them over and over to get rid of your pepper pest problem.

Ladybugs are one of the best solutions to control aphids on your chili plants. If you buy them in bulk, you can toss the extra in the freezer to save them for later.

Parasitic midges

There’s a beneficial midge that acts similar to ladybugs and will help destroy the aphids on your peppers.

Unlike biting midges (No See Ums), parasitic midges feed on aphid and small insect populations that your plant can harbor.

Look for a species called Aphidoletes aphidimyza. You can order them online and release them in your yard as needed.

Use as directed.

Use a hose

A powerful garden hose can spray off any aphids crawling across your plants. Turn it up a notch until it’s just enough to lose their grip and send them flying off.

The hose also disturbs their reproductive cycle and may encourage them to leave your plants.

It’s one of the easiest ways to quickly get rid of aphids temporarily, and you can water your plants at the same time while doing so.

Diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth is a natural fine white powder that you can sprinkle around your capsicum to kill and repel aphids.

You can buy food-grade, organic DE at, especially stores. Sprinkle a light dusting around the rim of your plant containers, plant bed, or make a small ring of it around each stalk of your pepper plants.

The aphids that crawl will be forced to walk across the DE in some way or form.

When they do, the DE sticks to their body and kills them by dehydrating them. You can also get some on the leaves of your plant if you can for extra defense against aphids.

Companion plant

Companion planting is growing other plants that naturally repel aphids and other annoying pests. They can also protect your cherished peppers by shielding them like a barrier.

These plants can be grown near your pepper with little to no competition for soil nutrients:

  • Onion
  • Chives
  • Garlic
  • Mint
  • Catnip
  • Sunflowers
  • Marigold

Pungent herbs do best. Anything that smells will keep bugs away if the scent isn’t attractive and sweet.

Sterilize the soil

You can effectively sterilize soil that’s been infested with mites, aphids, or other egg-laying insects by baking it. If you’re planting in containers, it’s easy to dump out the soil and then bake it.

Put the soil on a baking pan and cover it with some foil. Bake at 200 degrees for 30 minutes. The soil should be evenly distributed and allowed to cool before you replant. Common sense.

This will kill all pests hiding in the soil, their larvae, and their eggs all at once. You can do this for aphid or spider mite problems that you just can’t get rid of.

Or you can bake newly purchased or recycled soil to sterilize it from any pests before you bring it into your garden.

Note that this does make your kitchen smell like manure. For days.

So only use it if you can bear the stench of baked soil. You probably won’t want to bake anything in there for at least a week or so until the smell fades.

Soapy water (Castile)

Castile soap can be purchased at most stores in the personal care/health and beauty section. Look for pure castile soap (usually a combination of hemp and peppermint).

There are also unscented varieties if you don’t want a strong lingering scent of mint, but it usually also helps keep pests away after you’ve killed them.

Dilute the castile soap with 1 gallon of water per 2 tablespoons of soap. You can adjust the portions as needed. Castile soap can also be mixed with a shot of neem oil for extra protection.

Peppermint oil

Peppermint oil has a strong, sharp scent that will deter anything and everything from succulent bugs to larder beetles. Buy a pure bottle of it and dilute it with water.

A few drops into a quart of water should do the trick. Spray it on your pepper plant to make a natural aphid repellent.

If you have wildlife that are taking bites from your flowers, peppermint oil also will help deter them.

Similar to any other essential oil that requires dilution, always test it on a small part of your foliage before spraying it on the whole thing. If you notice burning or damage, add more water, or use less oil.

Peppermint oil is one way to kill and control aphids on pepper plants that are proven to work, as backed by government research.

You can refer to this guide on natural ways to get rid of aphids if needed. These bugs aren’t too difficult to bring down in numbers, but severe pest problems require some patience and persistence.

Be careful because you’ll be eating those peppers, so avoid using dangerous compounds or residues when possible.

Greenhouse whitefly and Silverleaf whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum, Bemisia tabaci)

Whitefly on a houseplant.
Whiteflies are a common pest for houseplants.

Whiteflies are the cousins of greenflies- both of which are found munching on pepper plants.

The whitefly (also known as the Silverleaf whitefly), will cause extensive damage to your capsicum crops.

They hide on the bottom of leaves and will congregate and feed together in the same area. If you’ve ever turned a leaf on your pepper plant and saw a bunch of small white flies scattering and flying away, those are probably them.

They’re also tiny and hard to spot, so you’ll only see a flurry of whiteflies.

You can use a magnifying glass to see these bugs. Whiteflies have white or yellow bodies with small wings that point upwards and drape over their body.

Whiteflies are like vampires. They crawl on the leaves and suck up the nutrients within. Similar to aphids, they deposit a sticky substance.

This will slowly become molded over time and attract ants. If your peppers are very young, this can pose a risk to them. Failed blooms, leaf loss, and no pepper harvest are common in whitefly problems.

Other than the sap they leave behind, they also will gobble on the foliage until the plant is destroyed. If you’re growing seedlings, take good care of them from whiteflies and greenflies.

Whiteflies are also called “white bugs” because that’s exactly what they look like. To the untrained eye, they’re white bugs.

To anyone who has done some reading, they’re Silverleaf whiteflies. Greenhouse whiteflies are also closely related and both will eat chili plants.

Ladybugs can be one solution to getting whiteflies under control.

They’ll eat up the eggs of the newly deposited batches which will disturb the life cycle of these pests. Another option is to attract predatory wasps that feed on whiteflies.

Either of these can be bought online and released in batches, or baited to your garden if you have them native to your area.

Soapy water can also be used to kill them, but it’s a lot of work. Whitefly populations are generally very large and well hidden.

Plus, they scatter quickly and hide well from human intervention.

So you’ll need to be spraying down your peppers on a weekly basis to get them under control.

For smaller infestations, soapy water or insecticidal soap can do wonders. If you have a severe whitefly infestation, consider using sprays that have malathion or rotenone.

But try not to because you’ll be eating those. Restrict selection to natural or organic only when possible.

Sticky traps are those yellow tape rolls or pads that you place around the area and trap bugs through adhesion. These can be a nice, passive technique to catch and kill tons of whiteflies, but rarely will get rid of the pest problem.

Crop rotation is also imperative for whitefly control. If you rotate your peppers with other crops, it can help stop pest problems over time.

Crop rotation works because it stops the same bugs from eating the same plants over and over.

Whiteflies will leave if you plant something they’re not attracted to in the place of your pepper plants.

Every 2-3 years, rotate your crops, and plant something else in place of the peppers. This will stop any whiteflies in the area, eggs in the soil, or greenflies from infesting your pepper crop repeatedly. And get rid of the little white bugs on your plant.

Lastly, you can use a reflective mulch to help stop whiteflies from getting onto your plants. This works best for newly planted seedlings that have yet to establish their root systems.

The mulch is applied around the vicinity of the crop and will help repel them without the use of compounds. Use as directed.

You can often find them online. Reflective mulch can be used on older plants, but work best for younger pepper crops. Use this to help keep bugs off your pepper plants.

You can refer to this guide for more tips on whitefly control.

Mites on pepper plants (Red spider mite, two-spotted mite)

Spider mite eating a pepper plant.
Spider mites are extremely small, but wreck havoc on chili plants.

Mites are prevalent and love to chew up your pepper crops.

Spider mites are the most common culprit (red spider mites and two-spotted spider mites) are often seen sucking on the foliage with their piercing mouthparts. Two-spotted mites are usually orange, red, or sometimes green to yellowish.

They have black markings on their body on both sides. The females are capable of depositing up to 200 small eggs, which can be seen on the bottom of leaves.

The eggs are circular and will hatch within 14 days. The babies that come out are yellowish larvae that have only 6 legs at first.

Eventually, they turn into spiders with 8 legs and get that ovular shaped spider body. They develop from hatchling to adult in just 21 days, and some can even speed through it in just 7 days. Spider mites will feast on plant stems and foliage by puncturing the precious greens.

Then, they suck out the juices with their vampire-like habits.

Spider mites hide from any sunlight because they dry out when exposed, so you’ll only find them on the bottom of the leaves or in the opposite direction of the sunlight.

Two-spotted mites will damage your pepper and you’ll notice yellowing leaves with small silver or gray speckles. The leaves will appear bleached with bronze coloration and fall off the plant.

You may also notice stripped or jagged leaves with small holes.

Spider mites tend to leave behind small webbing on the bottom of leaves, which is a telltale sign of vegetable mites or mealybugs. Mites will bore holes in your pepper leaves and leave them to turn yellow, wilt, and drop off.

See this guide on getting rid of spider mites.

Western flower thrips or onion thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis, Thrips tabaci)

Western flower thrip eating pepper plant.
Western flower thrips chew on pepper foliage and breed in the same material

Thrips are everywhere- from your ornamentals to your picture frames.

These tiny bugs are less than 0.05” in length and hard to see, even at adult size. The larvae feed on leaves by cutting and then sucking out the nutrients from the foliage.

You may notice that your chili leaves have small spots on them or silver color on the leaves. Younger nymphs are clear or white or yellow and adults are dark yellow or tan. They have long fringes on their wings which can be used to identify them.

Thrips are hard to control because they’re so tiny and they breed all day.

However, you can control them with natural predators that eat them.

Green lacewings, pirate bugs, mites, parasitic wasps, and even predatory thrips can all help keep their numbers in check. You’ll have to place your chili plants in a greenhouse for this to work.

By releasing their predators in small batches, they’ll gobble up the thrips until there are none left.

The seller that you buy your predators from should provide instructions on how to best utilize them. You can also refer to this guide on thrip control.

Leafminers (Liriomyza trifolii)

Leafminers do the damage that gives them their name.

They literally mine out paths inside your leaves and will leave behind a tunnel that preserves their activity. Leafminers are small, shiny flies that have noticeable yellow spots on their back.

They’re also shiny. The eggs are deposited by females into the leaves and a larva is born. It’ll feed on the tissues from the inside of your plant, which will create a network of tunnels that are visible on the leaf surface.

Leafminers will destroy your plant’s fragile leaf structure over time.

If you see the random patterns that appear to be black or dark gray on the surface of your pepper leaves, this may be the work of leafminers.

The first thing to do is prune.

Trim off all leaves that have leafminer activity and dispose of them securely, as the larvae may still be inside the leaf. Do not use it as compost or recycle it.

The leaves should also be carefully pruned as you don’t want to cut off any unaffected ones since the pepper needs it to grow.

For larger infestations, introduce parasitic wasps to help seek out and consume leaf miners in a controlled environment. See this leafminer control guide for more details.

Tomato or potato psyllid

Pysllid eating peppers.
Psyllid secrete a dark, sticky substance similar to honeydew. (By Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org, CC BY 3.0 us)

Psyllids are very similar to cicadas in appearance. They’re like miniature versions at only 0.08″ in length, but have the same overall body structure to the average gardener.

They secrete a honeydew residue which they leave behind and attracts ants to your plant. It’s similar to aphid honeydew, except that when it dries, it turns white and looks like small white spots.

Aphid honeydew has a liquidated appearance.

Both will attract bugs if not cleaned. The residue causes black sooty mold and will ruin your pepper plants if not removed.

Psyllids are also very fast and hard to see because they’re agile and this makes them hard to see.

Adults have white or yellow markings on their body and they have transparent wings. They also have segmented marks on their body.

The nymphs are flat, oval, and have red eyes. Their body is green and yellow. The younger ones will pierce the leaves and spit out a toxin that can kill smaller transplants.

Larger plants may be stunned or turn yellow from the toxins.

Psyllids are hard to control and even through the use of predatory enemies, they have a hard time.

This is because their natural predators attack them after they’re already born and the damage is done.

You can add sticky traps around your pepper plants to catch any early predators and also use them to monitor the psyllid population

Powerful compounds may need to be used to get rid of them. Look for pesticides that include the ingredient spinosad.

Use as directed.

Opt for natural or organic sprays as you’re using them around plants that you’ll be eating. There are organically certified sprays that can be used to keep your peppers certified if you plan on selling them.

How do you kill maggots in a pepper?

Pepper maggots.
Pepper maggots come from adult houseflies.

Pepper maggots can be controlled with pesticides.

Malathion, endosulfan, and dimethoate are all proven to be effective for them.

Apply as directed, which is usually between July to August when the flies are abundant. Maggots in peppers come from adult houseflies. These are the same flies that deposit eggs and give rise to maggots and worms in your trash, recyclables, and dog food.

The females lay their eggs in the skin of your pepper and the maggots eat the inside.

The pepper maggot is a fruit fly but hard to actually see in person because it’s well hidden.

For natural pepper maggot control, you can use neem oil or Bt.

How to protect chili plants from pests

Chili peppers.
Chili peppers are to be enjoyed bug free.

Controlling and eliminating the pests is one thing, but keeping them off your chili plants is another task.

After you get rid of the bugs, you should focus on keeping them away so you never have to deal with bugs again.

Chili peppers are vulnerable to a variety of different pests, like thrips, slugs, aphids, spider mites, and even nematodes, as outlined in this guide.

Chili attracts pests and they chew on the outer layer, which then gives off that familiar scent and it becomes vulnerable to even more pests.

Plus fungal infections can wipe out your chili harvest. That can ruin a meal.

Protecting and repelling pests from your chili requires a mixture of biological and exclusion techniques.

Here are some quick and dirty ways to get maximum protection without a lot of money or work.

Use peat moss

Peat moss can a deterrent to keep bugs off your plants that come in through the soil.

You can work the peat moss into the soil surrounding your chili to help deter any pests that snake their way to your chili roots.

Organic compounds like manure and compost both help repel nematodes and keep them from eating their way to your replant out of your sight.

If your pepper plants are being eaten directly at the root systems, then consider adding these natural organic substrates to the soil to help deep nematodes out without the need for any dangerous sprays.

Sprinkle borax

Borax can be used just like diatomaceous earth around your plant plot like a moat.

Similar to DE, borax sticks to the insect body and cuts them up with small, fine crystals. The powder will dehydrate the bugs over time and kill them, but they need to actually make contact with the powder for it to do anything.

Sprinkle the borax around your plants as if you’re making a barrier. Crawling insects that are not capable of flight will need to walk over it to get onto your peppers.

This can be a good protective measure to kill any psyllids, loose caterpillars, slugs, snails and other slow moving bugs. Even though it doesn’t kill upon contact, it still will eliminate them within a few days.

Borax is relatively safe compared to commercial solutions, but should be kept away from people and pets. You should also avoid sprinkling any on your harvest and to wash your crops well before you use them. Read up on some borax safety before applying. Use as directed.

Use sticky tape or traps

Sticky traps or sticky tape can both be a mighty effective, yet very cheap solution to control capsicum bugs.

If you align the tape in a way where the crawlers need to crawl over it to get to your plants, you can basically trap anything that attempts to get close.

This works well for veggies growing in potters or containers. You can put the tape on the rim of the container and bugs will need to touch it to get to the goods.

Some people also wrap a few inches of sticky tape around the base of the stem to stop bugs from crawling up the stalk.

Sticky traps are baited with a scented lure that attracts a genus of pests. You can buy the one for whichever bug you’re dealing with and use as directed. The good thing about traps is that they can be hung or placed to bait and catch even flying pests like whiteflies or aphids.

How do I keep bugs from eating my pepper plants?

Get rid of pepper plant pests.
Be patient and persistent.

The best way to keep bugs from eating your chili plants is to simply never attract them in the first place!

Using a combo of pest exclusion techniques, natural repellents, traps, sticky tape, essential oils, companion planting, and crop rotation can all work symbiotically to help keep your pepper pest free.

Depending on what’s eating your capsicum plants, you’ll have to evaluate the situation and act accordingly. 

if you have an aphid problem, use essential oils, sticky traps, diatomaceous earth, and attract predatory insects.

If you have a thrip problem, remove them by spraying them off, pruning infected leaves, and neem oil.

You’ll have to vary up the solution based on the pest that’s chewing on your plants. Be patient. Assess the situation. Think of a plan of action. Try it and test it. Reassess and adjust.

What can I spray on pepper plants for bugs?

Always use a DIY spray you mixed yourself rather than a store-bought insecticide when possible.

This will control exactly what you put on your pepper plants.

Since you’ll be harvesting them to consume, you definitely don’t want any dangerous or harmful compounds on the edibles you’ll be picking. So stick with natural, home-based remedies for any type of spray you need.

If you’re growing for industry/agriculture, there are some organic solutions out there.

Look for sprays that have the active ingredients per insect:

  • Aphids: neem, canola oil, oil-based compounds, horticultural oils, peppermint, clove, rosemary, eucalyptus, tomato leaf, garlic oil.
  • Whiteflies: neem, dish soap, malathion.
  • Mites: permethrin, diatomaceous earth, dish soap.
  • Leafminers: azadirachtin, neem, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), spinosad.
  • Thrips: pyrethrin, azadirachtin, neem, soap.
  • Psyllids: neem oil, insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, essential oils.

Further reading

Here are some references you may find helpful:

Did you get rid of the bugs on your pepper plants?

A pepper plant with a chili ready to harvest.
Fresh peppers ready to eat!

You now have a solid foundation of knowledge to control, manage, and eradicate pepper pests.

The majority of pest problems are pretty easy to get rid of completely.

But some garden pests, like aphids, will require some more effort on your part. Be persistent and patient and eventually you’ll enjoy a pest-free chili, bell pepper, or tasty ghost pepper so you can do your ghost pepper challenge in peace.

Pepper plants are naturally hardy to some of the most extreme conditions.

So just a few pests here and there won’t do much harm.

For severe infestations, practice the DIY home remedies for pepper pests outlined in this guide and see what works to save your plants.

Were you able to get rid of the bugs?

Do you have any questions about a specific pest problem? Or if you found this page helpful, please let me know as well!

Please consider telling a fellow chili head so they can get some value out of it.

Thanks for reading. And happy chili growing.

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