Grass pea Lathyrus sativus L. plays a major role in the nutrition of many poor people in Ethiopia. However, the crop suffers heavy damage by pea aphids Acyrthosiphon pisum (Hemiptera: Aphididae). To test potentially more sustainable and harmless alternatives to the commonly used insecticides, some botanicals (neem, garlic and hot pepper), soap, kerosene and the aphicide pirimicarb, were tested for their efficacy against A. pisum at Wondata village, close to the town of Bahir Dar, in northwestern Ethiopia, from 1999 to 2002. After pirimicarb, hot pepper was consistently the most effective botanical in controlling the pea aphid in terms of both pea aphid population as well as grain yield. Compared to the untreated control, there was up to 83 and 55% lower aphid population on pirimicarb- and hot pepper-treated plots in the 2000/2001 cropping season, respectively. There was also up to 93 and 54% higher grain yield on plots treated with pirimicarb and hot pepper extract, respectively. Soap was less effective, while kerosene caused phytotoxicity. Infestation levels increased with advancing maturity of the crop, rising exceptionally suddenly and dramatically near crop maturity. Combined ANOVA over years and crop growth stages indicated that aphid populations varied with years and growth stages. In 2001/2002, aphid populations were higher and grain yields were lower compared with the other years. Percentage parasitism of aphids was significantly higher on pirimicarb-treated plots (∼40%) than other treatments (<20%). Parasitism was essentially a late-season occurrence. Predator population, especially of ladybird beetles (Adonia spp.), was especially higher on hot pepper- and garlic-treated plots, and lowest on pirimicarb treated plots. Grain yield was positively correlated with level of aphid parasitism, ladybird beetle population and number of pods per plant, and strongly negatively correlated with aphid population. In conclusion, a fresh extract of hot pepper sprayed at the rate of 70 ml/4 m2 was selected for further research on rate, frequency and cost of application.