Those blasted aphids!

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I have noticed the wrinkled leaves on my Trinidad Perfumes this year, but I noticed them last year too; however, they are a lot worse this year. I didn’t think much about it until tonight, while I was sitting outside sipping my beer and reading the internet. I came across a post with a question about the wrinkled leaves. Some said calcium deficiency, and some said thrips. It was getting dark out, so I fetched the flashlight and took a look at the underside of the leaves. I thought I saw possible¬†insects, so I pinched off some of the leaves and put them in a ziplock. I looked at them through a magnifying glass, and… I have green aphids. Argh, those pesky aphids!! They are the worst.

Strangely, it’s the Trinis that have all the crinkled leaves, with the nearby Shishito that are now showing signs of the crinkling. This is not good. This is a sign that the aphids are spreading.

I had some concerns this year about potential aphid problems because I have noticed black ants on my deck. It all started with the ants walking around the soil of my fig tree when I brought it in from the garage. I’ve talked about ants and aphids in previous years, and their symbiotic relationship.

How do aphids help ants? Aphids feed the ants and docilely allow themselves to be moved if the ants require them to relocate. It is a fascinating arrangement where aphids and ants on plants live in close cooperative proximity. Managing ants is one way of controlling the aphid population. Ant bait stations are effective because the ants take the bait and bring it back to the main colony. This destroys more of the insects at one time. With less ants to defend them, aphid numbers will drop. Conversely, you can focus your attention on the aphid population. Without aphids, the ants will be forced to move on for food. – Source: Gardening Know How

My plan? Tomorrow morning, I am going to mix water and soap and spray down the Trinis before the sun hits. I will run the hose up shortly after and rinse the soap off. Usually I would put the entire potted plant into a garbage bag and lug it down to the garage and basically hose down the plant; however, these peppers are grown in the trough-style containers. I have no intention of carrying it through my house when I know I have an aphid problem.

I will likely ask hubs to pick up some ant traps.

The absolute worst case scenario is that I destroy the Trini plants. I have thought about them as my trap crop, but there is too much risk. As I mentioned, I think they are spreading to the neighbouring pepper plants.

Aphids – the bane of every gardener’s existence!

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