I've already mentioned the problems with our Bell peppers this year.
Whitefly and spider mite but these may not be the whole problem. I've look
online and can't find these symptoms anywhere. These peppers came from
three different places, some I stared myself last spring. Within a week of
planting them out their leaves looked "strange." Instead of being smooth and
flat, they started to look like seer-sucker, kind of 'puckery' and the
plants failed to make normal growth. As the weeks passed they made buds but
all flowers and buds fell off along with the bottom leaves. Leaves were
still green when they fell. Now over a month later I'm seeing small yellow
spots with dark brown centers and leaves are curling upward slightly. It's
getting paler between the veins. The plants are tall, spindly, leaves are
sparse and only a handful of peppers were produced from 18 plants. In the
past few weeks the spider mites and whitefly infested them completely and
every spray I used failed to make a difference. Ideas anyone? Thoughts?
Suggestions? What disease can this be?
By this time other years we'd have so many peppers we'd be giving them
away - and from no more than 6 to 10 plants.
I have sulfur powder and used it, but it can affect the soil PH whereas
Ironite doesn't. There has to be iron in the soil for the sulfur to work.
The soils here are very low in Iron. 32 oz of liquid Iron covers how large
a garden? We have several vegetable gardens.
You don't say what part of the country you're in, or what your
cultivation techniques are, but too much or too little water, cool
nights (>50F) or hot nights (<~75F), or too much nitrogen can cause
flower drop. Aphids and spider mites can spread diseases, too which
can weaken the plants cause the flowers to drop as well.
Are the leaves curling long ways, or tip to stem?
Unfortunately the symptoms you're describing could be for several
diseases from bacterial spot to Cercospora. Could you post pictures on
a site like Photobucket so we can see exactly what you mean?
The problem with spraying is that it kills the insect predators as
well as the pests, and the pests bounce back faster. The best way to
control aphids is to release lady bugs and stand back. They won't
clear out the aphids over night or kill all the aphids, but they'll
keep them under control.
I'm also wondering what you're using for fertilizer. I ask because
aphids are attracted to plants given high nitrogen fertilizers.
It's been a slow year for my plants; pepper, tomato, and egg plant. I
was hand watering at the beginning of the season because of drought
and watering restrictions, and I think they just needed more water
than hand watering could supply. Once we started having rain, they
took off, and are producing enough to make up for lost time. The
tomatoes and eggplants are coming in thick and fast, and the peppers
aren't far behind.
"Maybe you'd like to ask the Wizard for a heart."
"ElissaAnn" < firstname.lastname@example.org>
Perhaps worth a try.
Your Crops Sanely and Humanely
Hot Pepper Wax
Capsaicin, the ingredient in hot peppers that gives them heat, is a
powerful feeding deterrent and will even kill many insect pests. Hot
pepper wax is a formulation containing capsaicin, which can be sprayed
regularly on plants to prevent damage from aphids, whiteflies, spider
mites, thrips, leafhoppers, scales and many other soft-bodied insects.
It can also be used as a feeding deterrent for rabbits and deer. Waxes
in the mixture help the spray stick to leaves making it last up to two
weeks. Be sure to respray newly emerged leaves during that time period.
And don't worry, the pepper spray washes off easily enough that it won't
linger after harvest.
I hesitate to buy even more products since nothing has worked so far. The
Neem Oil (about $12) was supposed to work and didn't. Rotenone (around $9)
didn't work... couldn't find pyrethrum. The light summer oil ($10) was
supposed to work. I have about 8 things here (over $90 w/chemicals) and
none made more than a small difference in the whitefly and mite populations.
The pests must be gaining immunity to the organic pesticides as they have
the chemicals. My gardens are large and it's now starting to run into a lot
of money - and there's little improvement.
Sounds like you have a challenge. Best practice may be to go fallow.
Ps Rotenone has human health issues. Big ones!
As I mentioned somewhere here,.. this garden laid fallow 2 years due to an
accident I had. Several surgeries on my knee and physical rehab kept me out
of the garden. I'm surrounded by woodland and fields... and both are full
of insects and bugs. Virus and bacterial diseases have not been a problem.
I never saw whitefly here before, or spider-mites. The biggest pests were a
few Japanese beetles and the ubiquitous SVB. Aphids one year when we lived
I believe the spidermites came in on a gift palm I recieved last winter. It
was incurable so I trashed it this spring. Most likely not before a few
mites fell of it.......... :( The whitefly probably came in on one of
the seedlings I bought last spring.
Thanks for the URLs.
There's an old remedy for spider mites that might be worth a try, and
might not be too expensive. It combines wheat flour, buttermilk,
and water. The Organic Method Primer recommends it, and various
proportions are mentioned. Here's a recipe from a website:
1/8 cup buttermilk
1 cup wheat flour
1-1/4 gallons of water
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)
Have you found any of these concoctions to work for you? So far the only
thing I've seen make any difference this past week is called Organocide. I
got it at Lowe's. It's made with fish oil and smells like Cod Liver Oil. We
went to the Extension Office today with samples from our garden. The agent
didn't find signs of anything but whitefly and 2-spot spider mites. He said
they were the worst infested leaves he ever saw. We have to stop making our
own compost because there is no real way to kill them off in compost. I
could spread the problem all over the property with compost from the
gardens. He told us of a place we can get all the free stuff to compost we
can haul away. We're going to burn the entire pile we now have and get the
shredded stuff he told us about.
This one, no, but I have had people say it did work for them. And it even
turns up on some extension service websites:
And the following article references a study which found that "(f)our
have been shown to kill 95 % of red spider mite infestation."
But having seed your pictures (after my post) it looks like your infestation is
so bad that burning everything would be the best thing at this point. I'd maybe
even consider running a flame over every inch of garden.
Then hit every dormant shrub or tree in the vicinity of the garden with some
dormant sprays of oil before they break bud next spring.
Then maybe hit the area with lime sulfur after bud break:
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)
OK. I'm sure it did. Unfortunately none of the organic products or
concoctions have ever worked for us. Many people claim Neem Oil worked for
them and it did nothing to even slow them down in my garden. I threw away
another $10, $12 for the Neem Oil. The light oil "Organicide" did damage
the plants as I thought it might. The mites continue on but the white fly
population was cut by maybe 25%. Hardly worth the expense. I would like to
know what organic or inorganic actually works on mites other than Kelthane
which I can't get anymore. Kelthane was the only product I ever had that
killed the mites in two sprayings.
Actually it says: "Flour preparations Flour mixed in water *is said to be*
very effective against aphids and spider mites.." I'm curious, said by who?
Where were the experiments done and by who? I couldn't find any further
No one I know has ever seen such an infestation of whitefly and spider mite,
including the extension agent. The heat, low humidity and lack of rain is
certainly contributing to this infestation. In fact it's spreading across
the grass, other wild plants and the trees on the property around us. It's
spread to the flower beds. At this point trying to control the mite and
w/flies is a waste of time.
We live out in the country so that's impossible. We're surrounded by
woodland and underbrush, weeds and wildflowers. It would take thousands of
dollars and aerial spraying would be required. But thanks for the info.....
In reference to wheat flour/buttermilk mite remedy:
Actually, I should have said "no, I've never used it myself." I rarely
use any pesticides these day, and even those are mainly limited to soap
Neem oil has some very few legitimate uses but is touted as a panacea.
And there is no such thing as a panacea. I would have warned you off
Lime sulfur, maybe, as per info at: http://preview.tinyurl.com/6oozzc
(Lime sulfur is a long-standing remedy for a long list of mites, including
mange mites and chiggers as well as horticultural pests.)
BUT! I wouldn't expect any remedy (even Kelthane, if you could get it) to
help at this point. But dusts (flour or mineral) are legitimate remedies
for insects and mite pests. Call them 'particle films' and they even sound
Which takes you to:
That document contains the following line:
"Although not mineral-based, Ghate and Marshall (1962) suppressed eggs
and mobile forms of European red mite and two-spotted spider mites with a
combination of buttermilk and wheat flour."
The kaolin-based product, Surround (R), which is mention in the
document cited above, is available mail-order to home gardeners from
various places (if anyone is interested).
Hell, even people who *don't* live out in the country are surrounded by
other peoples yards with plenty of trees, bushes, weeds and flowers
which are *completely* beyond their control, let alone being beyond their
*budget*! Why did you assume I meant such a hugely extensive action?
Perhaps I should have thrown in the word "immediate" before "vicinity."
As in, if you have a row of raspberries, or a hedge row, or a couple
of peach trees next to the garden, spray *them* (they almost certainly
need the protection, after what's happened this year).
Next year, you will need to invest in prevention, which is always less
expensive and more effective than trying to cure. (Prevention is
less expensive, though not FREE.)
Right now you are hit hard with "throwing good money after bad"
regret/anger, and the fact that the most reasonable action at this point is
to destroy everything you planted for this year, which hurts.
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)
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