I have a green chilli plant that I bought a couple of weeks back. It seems to have some sort of insect over several of its leaves (see pics below). I am wondering if this is scale or spider or mite? If so, should I treat it by rubbing alcohol? (that seems to be the suggestion in a few places)

Any advice/help is appreciated. Please let me know if I can provide any more details.

Chilli plant with unidentified insects Chilli plant with unidentified insects Chilli plant with unidentified insects Chilli plant with unidentified insects Chilli plant with unidentified insects

  • What part of the world are you growing your chili in? This could help in the identification. – J. Chomel Apr 19 '18 at 7:17
  • I am growing this in Austin, Texas. Its been hot and dry for the most part since I bought the plant. – vk_ Apr 19 '18 at 23:40

According to my sacred tome on chilies they appear to be Oystershell scale insects.

To make sure check if they have a wax shell around them.

Sadly are pretty hard to get rid of.


The insects in the photos are difficult to see in detail, but they could be "scale" insects or possibly a species of aphid. Scale are usually not mobile (as adults) while aphids and leaf hoppers (all growth stages) have legs and move around. Both of them are sucking insects in the same insect family - (Hemiptera) true bugs. The larvae of these insects are much smaller and are difficult to see. They can severely damage plants if the infestation becomes heavy.

Your pepper plant does not appear to be severely infested and it is in a pot which makes it easier to treat. You can simply remove or crush the larger insects or treat them with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. Inspect and treat often over a period of time. Others use insecticidal soap spray, but results can be mixed.

As a personal experience - I have even used "flea and tick bombs" usually used for indoor flea infestations - they actually work well on many insects and don't seem to bother plants. I use a razor blade to adapt the "locking" spray cap (shave away the plastic lip) for quick easy bursts of spray. That way you don't need to use the whole can. You can easily apply several treatments this way over a couple of weeks period.

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