It is one of the most grateful crop plants we can have in our garden. The peppers, and as with the cucumbers, are some plants that have very simple cultivation, and they need little care and also usually offer an abundant production.
For all this, it is perfect for first-time farmers and horticulturists who want to see their work rewarding. However, peppers do not get rid of annoying insect pests that can affect your health and undermine production.
Here we will show you what they are and how to deal with them.
The origin of the pepper
As you know, the pepper is a fruit of American origin that was imported to Europe after the discovery of America.
It is believed to be native to Mexico, Bolivia, or Peru, and that after its entry into the European continent through Spain, it continued its expansion in other countries such as Italy and France.
It belongs to the Solanaceae family and, more specifically, to the genus Capsicum. This family is made up of other herbaceous plants known as the mandrake or the belladonna.
It has many very well-known varieties and used in cooking, such as bell pepper, piquillo pepper, sweet pepper, hot pepper, and Padrón pepper, among many others.
It is used as a widely used ingredient in salads, creams, and dishes in gastronomy around the world due to its flavor and nutritional properties, as it has a high content of vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium.
At present, the world’s largest producer of pepper is China, where more than 17 million tons of fresh produce and about 300,000 tons of dry products are produced annually.
The pepper crop
To avoid the appearance of pests, we must take seriously the idea of working to prevent them.
The best way to do this is to take special care in the different phases of growing our pepper to get a healthy plant.
It never hurts to remember that a diseased or weak plant is a perfect gateway for infections and harmful insects that can damage and even end the life of the plant.
Here are some tips for optimal care of our pepper plant:
- The ideal temperature for growing peppers is about 20 degrees Celsius on average. This also means that they require a large amount of light, especially during the growth period, that is, once germination is over.
- The soil does not require great qualities for the cultivation of pepper, but the idea is that it has a little moisture along with good drainage.
- Although the cultivation of several pepper plants at the same time is usually beneficial, we must consider leaving a minimum separation of 0.5 meters between plants of the same line and 1 meter between lines if we do not want to agglomerate too many branches and leaves in the same site. Remember that plants are competing with each other for light and water, so bringing them together too much can cause a harmful effect on their growth and proper development.
- Irrigation is similar to other plants and vegetables, such as tomatoes or zucchini. The ideal is always drip irrigation, as we ensure you have enough water and do not suffer dehydration while avoiding the flooding or drowning of the plant.
- On the other hand, we must also take into account pruning in the pepper plant. Generally, we must eliminate the secondary branches to try to concentrate on the production of peppers in two or three branches.
- Neither in this nor in any other crop is it advisable to let the weeds at ease. In addition to the negative visual effect, its roots also make up the water with the plant that we want to have, in this case, the pepper, in addition to being a perfect refuge for harmful species of insects that can form pests around the plant. It is best to remove them at the root as soon as possible.
On numerous occasions, it is difficult to prevent the appearance of pests. Despite pampering our plants, we can find ourselves in a situation of drought or extreme temperatures that weaken the plants and make them more vulnerable to harmful insect pests. Therefore, it is important to know what type of insects are attracted to peppers to control them in the first cycles. These are the most important:
- The red spider mite damages all vegetables, and the pepper was not going to be less. The best way to identify the presence of this small brown insect is in the leaves since they usually leave small yellow dots in their path. Even in more advanced stages, the plague can build small roads of this color that serve as passageways to feed freely on the leaves.
- The companion of the red spider in most vegetables is also present here, in peppers. It is the white spider, another harmful insect that feeds in addition to the young stems and flowers.
- The caterpillars can also damage peppers, especially leaves. This insect, due to its size, can get to devour a small plant in a single night, because you will not find anything that prevents it, as they usually act once the sun has fallen. One way of knowing their presence, in addition to the damage to the leaves, is because they usually leave their droppings on them.
- The aphid is common in most crops, and of course, it is also common in pepper.
- The whitefly can cause very serious damage to the plant peppers and, in fact, is one of the most feared in this type of crop. In order to identify the plague, you just have to shake the branches to see the flies fly lightly.
- The Thrips are tiny insects that cause damage, especially the leaves and flowers. Its control is simpler than that of other pests, although it is preferable to remedy in time.
- The snails and slugs also feed on the leaves. To know about their presence, you can observe the silvery and wet trail they leave behind.
How to eliminate pepper pests
When eliminating possible pests that may appear in your pepper plants, we must take into account both traditional methods and home remedies.
The first pass mainly through pesticides and insecticides, but you must always take into account if you use this type of solutions that can cause insects to create resistance to them, in addition to the environmental danger that entails due to the possibility of eliminating natural predators from pests or other beneficial insects.
Therefore, here are some alternative methods to eliminate pests naturally or with home remedies:
- The slurry nettle or purín sulfur usually effective against red spider and white spider.
- As for the control of the caterpillar, the application of treatments with bacillus thuriengensis is effective, as this is one of its natural predators.
- Oils are also usually effective against some types of pests. For example, paraffin oil works against thrips. This same insect can be controlled with blue chromatic traps.
- The neem oil or neem is also useful against insect this.
- The infusion of garlic and onions are very effective against pests thrips and aphids, and they do not affect the plant or other species.
- The sticky traps are an option to prevent insects climb through the trunk to the branches and the leaves damage. Therefore, the most effective is to place them around the trunk in part immediately above the ground.
- Finally, an insecticide or homemade spray that you can make, and that is useful against many pests, is soapy water. As simple as mixing soap and water and spraying the affected leaves and branches to kill insects.