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PunkRotten
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Bugs are eating my Bell Pepper plants! HELP!

Hi,

All the leaves of my 3 bell pepper plants are all chewed up. Anyone know what I can do to stop it? I pulled off some damaged leaves. A few new small leaves were coming in and they are getting chewed on too. The plants are not looking good. I need help. Thx

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rainbowgardener
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Do you know it is bugs? What do the leaves look like? Do they have big holes in them? If so, it could be slugs. That's the main thing that attacks my pepper plants, which are never much bothered by insects. You can check by going out late at night with a flashlight and looking for them. Or you can lay a board down on the soil near them. Let it sit a couple days and then come out in the middle of the day and lift it up. If you have slugs, they will likely be hiding under it. Otherwise you will never see them in the daytime.

If it is slugs, just type slugs or slug control into the Search the Forum keyword box and find tons written here about how to deal with them.

If you don't think it is, it would help to post a couple pictures of the damage and definitely of any bugs you spot.
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PunkRotten
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I went and snapped a few pics. I also snapped one of a tomato plant too. I have a couple tomato plants that have some pinholes in their leaves and a little browning/burning on the leaf. Should I be concerned?

[img]https://i53.tinypic.com/dnlw5s.jpg[/img]


[img]https://i52.tinypic.com/2jg5bw2.jpg[/img]


[img]https://i55.tinypic.com/oh4bwp.jpg[/img]


[img]https://i55.tinypic.com/28lfcrt.jpg[/img]

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Rogue11
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Looks like snail or slug damage on the peppers, I am not sure about the tomato, though.

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rainbowgardener
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I agree, the peppers look like slug (or snail) damage. The tomatoes look like something different, not sure what, possibly something like flea beetles. Inspect very carefully, checking the undersides of the leaves.
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PunkRotten
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Would it be advised to prune all the damaged leaves off? Would new leaves grow back or do you think these plants are too far gone? I pinched off all the leaves on one of them all that remains is just the stem.

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Kisal
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Personally, the only time I remove damaged leaves is when they're yellowed or so severely damaged that they no longer contribute to the support of the the plant, or early in the course of a disease that will spread.

I wouldn't remove a leaf just because it's been chewed a bit by a caterpillar or slug or snail, but I would remove the "skeletonized" leaves, as there isn't enough leaf surface left on them to make enough food, They're just an energy drain on the plant. It's better to channel that energy into budding new leaves. :)
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rainbowgardener
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But deal with the slugs or they will just keep eating all the new leaves! :evil:
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Kisal
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rainbowgardener wrote:But deal with the slugs or they will just keep eating all the new leaves! :evil:
That's certainly true! :lol:
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PunkRotten
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I don't think they are slugs/snails. I went out and check with a flashlight and saw no slugs or snails anywhere. Also I saw no slime trails anywhere or even on the plants. So it must be some other bug. I didn't see any though on the bell peppers. But I did see those pincher bugs on one of my scallion plants and it looked like they were eating it. Are pincher bugs known to eat veggies? Oh and I also see those rollie pollies too.

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rainbowgardener
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I'm still not sure. The slugs eat my pepper plants and I never see slime trails (it may be more snails that leave those). I rarely see the slugs, but I know that's what does it, because a couple times I have opened up peppers and found slugs inside them (euww, euww).

Not sure what the pincher bug is, some kind of beetle? But the roly-poly's are detritovores, they only eat dead stuff, so they are not what is bothering your peppers. You could try dusting the pepper plants and the ground around them with diatomaceous earth and see if that stops the problem.
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PunkRotten
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This is the pincher bug

[img]https://www.happypestcontrol.com/images/earwig-pincher-bug-extermination-san-diego.jpg[/img]

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Kisal
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Slime trails from smaller slugs and snails aren't always visible, unless you hit them just right with a beam of light. The little devil's eat a remarkable amount for their small size, though, and leave holes as much as 1/2" in diameter. Some of the young snails I find are only about 1/8" in diameter. A slug that size would probably just look like a grain of dirt on the leaf or stem.

The "pincher" bug is an earwig, and yes, they eat living plant tissue. No friendly garden helper there! :lol:
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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PunkRotten
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Should I get rid of the earwigs? Could the earwigs be eating the bell peppers?

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Kisal
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That's a definite possibility. I'm not sure you want to eliminate the population, although that might seem tempting right now. They usually only damage seedlings, so as your plants grow, there will be less damage ... or at least it will be less obvious. ;) The reason you don't want to totally wipe them out is that they also feed on garden pests, like aphids. They can be an asset to your garden if you can just keep them away from your seedlings.

One way to do that is to remove their hiding places. Like snails and slugs, they like dark, damp places. One of their favorite spots is in and under thick layers of mulch, so unless it's already become very hot and dry where you are, you might want to temporarily pull back any mulches around and near the affected plants. Earwigs also like to hide under flowerpots, especially those sitting in saucers or trays. Pick up the pots and you may find the earwigs.

UCDavis has published [url=https://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74102.html]this article[/url] about earwigs. In it, they give instructions for simple-to-make traps you can set out. (I suggest that the traps they describe might also attract animals, both wild and domestic, so keep that in mind if you decide to use them.)
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rainbowgardener
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Earwigs are a mixed blessing in the garden. See jal-ut's post here:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=194880#194880

But I'd be surprised if the earwigs were creating that extensive of damage to your pepper plants, unless you have 100's of them. When I've found earwigs in my garden, I've usually only found one or two (maybe there were a lot more I didn't find, I don't know) and there was no visible damage to the plant I found them on.
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PunkRotten
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I planted a new Pepper plant and went and checked the plant right now tonight and I seen earwigs all over it and the plant has holes everywhere just like the ones pictured. As far as the previous damaged peppers they don't seem to be bugging them anymore. I wish I would of set a trap by the new plant, but too late now.

swimmer3333
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rainbowgardener wrote:I'm still not sure. The slugs eat my pepper plants and I never see slime trails (it may be more snails that leave those). I rarely see the slugs, but I know that's what does it, because a couple times I have opened up peppers and found slugs [url=https://www.wiltedleaf.com/178/how-kill-rolly-polys-bugs-pill-bugs-they-eating-strawberries]inside[/url] them (euww, euww).

Not sure what the pincher bug is, some kind of beetle? But the roly-poly's are detritovores, they only eat dead stuff, so they are not what is bothering your peppers. You could try dusting the pepper plants and the ground around them with diatomaceous earth and see if that stops the problem.
Did the DE help? I have the same problem.

Leetchi
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Re: Bugs are eating my Bell Pepper plants! HELP!

I have found a wonderful natural recipe to keep bugs away frommy vegetable garden and I'll share here.

Mix together
1tablespoon of dish soap
1 cup of fresh cooking oil
Mix well.

When you want to use it, add 4 teaspoons of mixture to 1 pint of water into a spray bottle and drench your plants regularly especially after rain. (Keep concentrated mixture in a tightly closed container in a cool place until you use it)

Bell peppers also love Epsom salts which slugs do not. I make a mixture of Epsom salts with water and liberally spray at the bottom of my bell peppers and tomatoes with the spray.

Hope this helps :P

imafan26
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Re: Bugs are eating my Bell Pepper plants! HELP!

Put out slug bait, it won't hurt. It is easier to look for slugs and snails early in the morning or after dark.
The tomato has spots. I think it would be better to pull it. Fungal and bacterial disease can be seed transmitted but are very hard to control.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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