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I noticed about 4 days ago that leaves on one of my peppers got soft and started to hang down a little. I thought that it just needs some water so i watered it along with my 2 other peppers. Today the same pepper looks like it again needs more water, while the other 2 are in pretty much good shape. I inspected the plant and found out that a lot of leaves from its top half are completely dry and basically dead. The rest of them is either normal (young and small leaves look the best) or seems to be attacked by an insect (or a disease?) i can't identify by myself.

Attacked leaves can have small dry areas and strange little spots on them (maybe eggs of an insect): enter image description here

And others look like they have been bitten (backlight for better visibility): enter image description here

I have also noticed one tiny white/yellow bug walking on the plant. I couldn't take a clear picture of it, because it was to small.

Are these symptoms caused by an insect or is it a disease?
If it is an insect, how can i get rid of it?
Are my other plants in danger?

7

I checked both options provided by cr0 and Alina (Thank you both very very much). During the process of comparing the symptoms of glasshouse whitefly and spider mites to my plant's situation i stumbled upon something that i belive matches the damage done to the pepper more than both of the previously mentioned insects - thrips.

Here are the reasons why i think that:

  • Images shown in this article (images labeled - Thrips on Peas) closely match, how the attacked leaves look. Black dots of excrement pinpointed on the first thrips related image of the article are visible on my first posted image.

  • In the article it is also mentioned that the trips leave some kind of shiny cast on the plant after feeding on it and the damaged areas on my pepper really do shine.

  • The greenhouse whitefly didn't look quite like the insect i spotted, but the two thrips shown on the second image from the article look pretty much like the bug which i tried to describe in my question (sorry, i should have given a little bit more detailed description).

  • Spider mites looked like something close to that, what is attacking my plant. There even were some single web strings hanging around the peppers, but nothing as dense and as small as the spider mites webs shown on images related to mites. I know it can still be them, but the webs look more spider-like (regular spider not spider mite) to me and there was in fact a little spider, which could make these webs, hanging around my desk a little while ago. At least i hope it was a spider and not a spider mite.

I'll now try to get rid of the insects treating them as they would in fact be thrips. If i succeed i will assume that i was really dealing with thrips and accept this answer.

  • Michael...if you do have spider mites, could be but there should be webbing very apparent webbing if you have spider mites. Do you have a magnifying glass? A Loop? You should be able to see these mites...usually 2 spotted...a spot above each shoulder , usually a gold color overall. Just this past year I've been using spider mite predators. FANTASTIC!! Loved just watching these things gobble up the mites (I started to feel sorry for the mites!) and suck their eggs dry. Incredible predators. If you run out of spider mites and their eggs, the predators die. Not a single spider mite now. – stormy Aug 30 at 23:14
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That looks like spider mites to me. They break into plant cells to eat, causing a dried out or deflated appearance in plants, and they hang out, spin webs, and lay eggs generally under the leafs as you photographed. They're pretty common among indoor plants in my experience.

There are different tricks for dealing with these pests. You can read more about countermeasures to spider mites online, such as in that Wikipedia article I linked to where it mentions using Neem oil:

Neem oil may provide control, when combined with a suitable surfactant and diluted with water. As with chemical control, repeated applications are required.

I know of many people who use Neem oil as a countermeasure. I just mist the plants with water frequently and that helps, and if it's really bad, I use slightly-soapy water to mist or rinse the leafs. In really bad cases, rinsing the leafs with soapy water then with fresh water and wiping the underside of the leafs gently can remove the mites. Sometimes that does the trick, sometimes the mites return.

Your other plants could be in danger of these pests too. Try to isolate the infested plant and keep it isolated for a little while after getting rid of the pests to ensure they don't spread to other plants.

2

The yellow and white insect is Trialeurodes vaporariorum. To prevent infestation, plant traps can be used (plants that attract it and leave alone most part of your other crops), but it's too late now. The best way to get rid of adults is a systemic insecticide, like Actara and Mospilan. Go to the nearest shop for pest control and ask for alternative insecticides against greenhouse whitefly if those are not available.

Remember to use the insecticide in the concentration stated on the label. Too little will be ineffective, too much might create resistant superbugs if a few of them escape. If your neighbours use one insecticide, buy the other one because the insects might be already resistant. You may have to apply when a new generation of insects become adults, usually every 3 weeks.

The best way to kill the eggs is using horticultural oils. If you don't eliminate the bugs, they will expand to your other plants.

The brown areas on the margin of the leaves are caused by something else, I don't know what.

  • In what instances can you remember where TOO LITTLE of a pesticide will only make super bugs. I haven't thought about this angle at all, Alina. – stormy Aug 30 at 23:19
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Sounds as if you are over watering your peppers. Do not water until those pots when lifted feel very light!

  • Thank you for your reply. I think i saw the adults a few times already, but i couldn't recognize them earlier due to lack of experience and knowledge. I just thought that they are some kind of small flies. I will definetly try neem oil against them, seeing as a lot of people recommend it. I will also try to play around with vanilla extract sticky/cotton traps. I have read that vanilla can attract thrips, so it might be worthwile to try it out and i can't immediately get my hand on these proper blue sticky thirps traps. The plants grow in my room by the way. – Michał Górecki Apr 28 '17 at 19:45
  • Look at the soil. Remove all debris where they are able to hide and prosper. Spray the top of the soil with NEEM as well. Remember when you are purposely attracting insects, more vigilance is required. Are the adults skinny, black, very tiny with a pointy tail? Great experiment. Ummm. Without enough light you will get few if any peppers. In doors there is no way to get enough light through a window to produce flowers or fruit. Keep the nitrogen lower than the P and K to enhance flowering. Let us know how things go for this plant. This is tough to diagnose anything based on a pic. – stormy Apr 28 '17 at 21:13
  • I have removed top layer of the soil from every pot and removed some leaves which were infested by eggs. The adults look pretty much like you described. The things is that except for those few which i killed there are no others around (which is a good because i won't be able to get neem oil before friday). Only one of the adults survived to see the vanilla traps, so i can't say much about their effectiveness, but the one that survived seemed to be attracted by them. It came around not very long after i have opened the aroma bottle. Thank you for your tips regarding flowering by the way. – Michał Górecki May 1 '17 at 23:00
  • One other thing, if you do get spider mite predators, do not use neem or soap or any other pesticide. They cost about $50. These predators did a far better job than fogging! You just have to sit down with a big magnifying glass and watch the action! These predators are at least 3 times the size of the mites, do not make webs...and they are SCARY to watch. Poor mites!! – stormy Aug 30 at 23:23

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