The Order of Greenfly

I have long been fascinated by the way greenfly will populate one type of chilli plant but not another, and while chilli plants are generally a tasty target, greenfly are happy to dig into one variety while another variety next door goes unscathed, at least for a while.

Some years I get very little in the way of greenfly, other years, like this one they are more of a challenge but even though they are pest, I still find them strangely fascinating. Their breeding cycle is weird, some are born with wings, some without, and some are even born pregnant.

So I have been observing their progress recently. A few weeks ago i noticed a few on my Chilhuacle negro plants, but not any of the others. Now they have spread a bit, firstly to bhut jolokias, but not Carolina reapers, then to some cajun belles, then to some aji, and yet the pimiento de Padron in-between remain untouched.

An entomologist once told me that that they tend to stick to one variety if they can and so in my greenhouse I dispensed with keeping plants of the same variety next to each other, now I alternate them, so that if one plant is infected with greenfly then they are less likely to jump onto the neighbours. Apparently they just get used to the sap of one plant, and their young will prefer to stay there. They still managed to spread from one chilhuacle to another, but it took a while, the fact that they were spread out bought me some time to squash them.

Anyone done any serious experimentation on this?

5 thoughts on “The Order of Greenfly

  1. Hi, I think there could be something in this. I have one small birds eye type plant that has had greenfly problems all summer. I’ve sprayed it and picked them off daily, but they keep coming back! I have six large Scotch Bonnets, Four large Cherry Bombs and six big Demon Red plants which have barley been touched. Suffice to say the birds eye plant is now looking unwell! Its turned out to be a bit sacrificial and in a way has helped all my bigger plants stay greenfly free.

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  2. Hi Jason, They are all outside, just this one plant which is only small as I left it in a small pot really attracts the greenfly. Like I say, not to bothered as it appears to be keeping them off the others. On another note, made the 1st sauce from your Cooking book, the sweet red onion one, the missus put a picture on your facebook page. It is like a cross between a sweet and sour and a Szechuan with a bit of a kick. Very good!


  3. Pingback: Chilhuacle Negro | Chilli Books Blog

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