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I live in Southern California. I just planted some jalapeno & habanero plants a couple of weeks ago and bugs are eating the leaves. What can I safely use to get rid of the bugs?

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  1. Common insect pests that eat leaves of peppers include flea beetles and slugs. Both can be controlled with an insecticidal soap spray which can be found at most garden centers and garden departments. The soap spray works well on flea beetles, but if you're still having issues then you might try sprinkling plants with diatomaceous earth from a garden center (not the type used for pools). One way to keep flea beetles from ever coming in contact with your plants is to cover seedlings or newly planted peppers with a row cover such a Reemay. Be sure to remove the barrier once flowers appear. You can bait for slugs, set out beer traps, circle your plants with commercial copper bands or rings (copper reacts with the slugs slim and produces a mild electrical current), or buy decollate snails--predatory snails that eat common garden slugs and snails. The good news is that at least the deer aren't eating your plants. If they were then all the leaves would be gone!

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