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I have spotted that one - and only one - of my peppers plants has a number of small black flies of some type hanging around the soil. And while writing this I've just spotted that one (and only one!) of the leaves has what I guess might be aphids on the back of it. So I'm now even more concerned than I was.

I first spotted the bugs 2 or 3 days ago, and it's definitely the case that the black flies are living on, or around, the plant given their behaviour and location. They are most often walking around the soil or pot, occasionally sat on the lowest leaves.

The plant seems healthy at the moment (as much as my negligible experience can tell) and doesn't look like it's being eaten or anything, but I guess this might not last long.

Note that there is another pepper plant about 30cm away, which is showing no signs of similar pests or anything on the leaves.

What should I do?
Having started doing research on the web, can I just say that the plants are indoor potted plants and I have no external garden whatsoever; introducing another insect that will eat these is not possible.


Here are some images to hopefully help:

One of the bugs sat on the pot by the soil line: One of the bugs sat on the pot by the soil line

And the back of one concerning leaf:
The back of the single leaf that might have eggs on it?

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Thanks for question and for excellent macro pics. I'm pretty sure this is what I have on my indoors basil plants. Will try same cures as suggested below! –  Lisa Aug 1 '11 at 12:47

3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Can you take the plant outside? And do you have access to an outside hose?

If your answer is a "yes" to both of the above questions, a hose nozzle that delivers a sharp stream of water offers a very! effective method. When using this method, make sure you take your time and blast the whole plant (eg underside of the leaves).

After doing that, I would then submerge the potted plant in water for an hour or two (this will drown any pests within the soil (or at least wash them out).

When you've completed the above tasks, I would then put the potted plant in a sink or bath tub for a day or so ie Quarantine the plant for a day or two, so you can ensure you have got ride of the unwanted house guests.

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Found a good solution for the water blast when limited to staying inside - bathroom shower. No temperature and minimum pressure setting gives quite a good spray without being damaging. Quite effective. –  DMA57361 Jul 11 '11 at 16:47

These small, black insects which cluster together look like the blackfly that sometimes infest my broad beans. If they reappear after the water-blast treatment, I would spray them thoroughly with a solution of soapy water; it saves using chemicals, costs virtually nothing and works a treat. To my mind, always better to take the organic route if possible, particularly when dealing with indoor plants or foodstuffs..

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The things on the leaves don't look like them but small black insects on the soil sound like springtails - which should not be a problem for the plant.

If you decide to get rid of them (and whatever the insects on the leaves are), then I would use pyretheum. This is derived from an extract of chrysanthemum and as insecticides go, is on the safe side. It is often sold for food plants and delicate plants such as orchids. You will still want to wash any fruit after picking, and to try avoid spraying any fruit.

A soap spray would be an organic alternative but I don't know how effective it is against all insects.

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A water blast - as per Mike's question - has cleared the green bugs, but if they return I'll upgrade to pesticide, so will keep this in mind. Thanks. –  DMA57361 Jul 10 '11 at 16:21

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