SLC
Senior Member
Posts: 229
Joined: Tue May 11, 2010 1:18 am
Location: Central Connecticut

What is happening to my peppers and why??? How do I stop it?

Please help!

I have been checking them and they've been good so far, but just starting last week, they started to change color and now that they are changing color, they are getting mushy spots and rotting from the inside out! Why is this happening? What can I do to stop it?

(Click to enlarge)

This was an orange pepper - looked almost good from the outside, but the bottom was mushy - here is what it looked like when I cut it open:
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IMG_1034.JPG (35.38 KiB) Viewed 683 times
And here is a green pepper - hasn't even started changing color yet, but look at the dark spot - this spot was toward the TOP of the pepper and was a little soft:
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IMG_1036.JPG (23.56 KiB) Viewed 683 times
But this is what it looked like on the inside!
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And this was the other side of the pepper that looked fine on the outside, but...........
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IMG_1039.JPG (32.46 KiB) Viewed 683 times
Ewwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!! How did this maggot or whatever it is get in there??? There weren't even any holes in the pepper, I don't understand! I studied the pepper before I cut into it - there were no holes!

How did this happen and how can I stop it?

Are the parts of the pepper that weren't affected edible???

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: What is happening to my peppers and why??? How do I stop

I'm pretty sure this is a pepper fly maggot
https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/444/444-005/444-005.html

female can lay 50 to 60 eggs, depositing them in punctures she creates with her ovipositor in the skin of the pepper fruit. Eggs are about 0.08 inches long, white, and "crookneck" shaped. Maggots emerge from eggs in 8 to 10 days then burrow into the pepper fruit and feed there for about 2 to 3 weeks. Fully-grown maggots are 0.39 to 0.47 inches long and creamy white to yellow in color (Fig. 2).
I don't see them often, but I believe pepperhead212 who lives within 1 hr drive from my location said he gets them all the time and he grows his peppers under protective cover. His location is slightly warmer than mine -- maybe that makes the difference?

Since peppers can be eaten green, I pick them as soon as I notice anything amiss and just cut away bad parts with extra margin of good part... And use those for cooking rather than eating fresh.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: What is happening to my peppers and why??? How do I stop

Oooh! This publication gas lots of info 8)
Pepper Maggot Flies

the females deposit eggs in oval punctures they create (2/100 inches in diameter) with their ovipositors in the skin of young peppers 1/2 to 1-1/4 inch in diameter. Females live for about 20-30 days and can lay 50-75 eggs. Eggs hatch in 8–10 days, when peppers are about 2/3 fully grown. Maggots feed on the developing seeds and soft tissue of the pepper core for 15-20 days after which they tunnel out of the fruit leaving a large exit hole. - See more at: https://extension.umd.edu/learn/insect- ... iinEo.dpuf

To monitor pepper maggot flies the most successful trap/bait combination uses a rectangular, yellow, sticky-trap baited with a vial of 30% liquid ammonia. These traps should be placed 20 ft high in sugar maple trees along the margins of pepper fields. Though this methodology seems unusual, research from Connecticut has shown that pepper maggot flies can be monitored most effectively using this technique. - See more at: https://extension.umd.edu/learn/insect- ... iinEo.dpuf

Flies also can be monitored by using hot-cherry pepper as indicator plants spaced 25-100 meters apart around the perimeter (within the outer rows) of the field. The cherry-peppers are a preferred host to bell peppers and should be checked every 3-4 days for egg laying stings or scars. Stings are easy to recognize on the smooth surface of the cherry pepper and appear as shallow indentations of the fruit surface with tiny scars. - See more at: https://extension.umd.edu/learn/insect- ... iinEo.dpuf
...the trouble is, a ref page at the Connecticut site said cherry peppers and 'alma' type peppers are their fave. And I have a Sweet Alma pepper growing..... Maybe I should go look for the sting scar. :?
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

imafan26
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: What is happening to my peppers and why??? How do I stop

I see similar damage from pepper weevils.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

pepperhead212
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Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:52 pm
Location: Woodbury NJ Zone 6B

Re: What is happening to my peppers and why??? How do I stop

SLC,

Do you live near a creek, or other body of water? Pepper maggot flies also lay their eggs on a native weed - horsenettle - which grows in wetlands, thus the reason I get them is because I am about a hundred yards from a creek! They much prefer mild varieties. One good thing is that by now (or rather the very end of July or beginning of August) they are gone, and any new peppers won't get them.
You can tell if these are the culprits if you find the eggs on the skin of the peppers. They are little white specks, smaller than a pin head, that feel like a little bumb.

I control these by covering the prone varieties with ultra light fabric, until that first week in Aug.
Dave

SLC
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Posts: 229
Joined: Tue May 11, 2010 1:18 am
Location: Central Connecticut

Re: What is happening to my peppers and why??? How do I stop

Thanks for all the replies. That is probably what happened to the orange pepper too, since it had a hole on the bottom. :cry: And there were plenty more just like it that I have lost already.

Actually, we live on marsh lands - the guy behind us, his yard gets even wetter, so he built a little creek for the water to flow into! Our land is flat and when it rains a lot, the water takes so long to dry up, the first year we moved in, my garden was under about 6 inches of water, which is why we built a 18 inch high raised garden bed. It drains beautifully, but my guess is that is why these stupid flies hang out around here, and my peppers are easy pick-ins! Although, I have never seen little white specks on my peppers. I will have to inspect closer next time.

Is there anything I can do? Do you know if there is any organic spray I can use on the peppers next year to stop them???

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