slick-rides
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Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:21 pm

Pepper Pest Help

Hello. This is only my 3rd year of having a small garden. 1st 2 years nothing bothered my peppers. This year I apparently have a pest infestation of something eating or boring holes in my sweet bell peppers. After searching the internet it looks like I might have a worm or caterpillar problem? I tried to find one today but didn't. I looked under leaves and broke open the peppers that had holes. I also have some random holes in the leaves as well. Please look at these pics and let me know what you think. I'm in northern Ohio. Thinking of trying a BT pesticide??? Thank you in advance! Phil
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slick-rides
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Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:21 pm

Re: Pepper Pest Help

Just came in from checking the plants while dark. Didn't find anything other than some slugs on the ground. I sprinkled some slug bait I had and watched them start digging in. :D I'm not convinced it was slugs doing the pepper damage though?

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

Re: Pepper Pest Help

It isn't slugs. The young leaves would be targeted before older peppers. If the inside of the cavity near the seeds are black and rotting I have a couple of suspects
Usually pepper weevils come out of the ground around now. They lay an egg on the pepper flower and the larvae burrows into the pepper eating the insides as the pepper grows. You will notice the infesting peppers look like they are ripening faster even showing some yellow streaks, then they get water logged and mushy. If you examine the cap of the pepper you will find a small hole at the edge of the cap where the weevil emerged. They mate and then hibernate in the ground until next year. To avoid them, you have to rotate the peppers to another part of the garden. Adults feast on leaves and fruit of nightshades.
https://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/r604301011.html

European corn borer also causes that kind of damage. It is the larvae of a moth that likes to burrow into corn ears but also peppers and feed on turf roots. I don't think this is what is bothering your plant.
https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/dam ... 06_pdf.pdf

Here are some other common pests of peppers
https://www.ipm.uconn.edu/documents/raw2 ... ation2.pdf

That bug on your leaf is also suspect. I can't tell what it is, but it is probably not a good bug.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

slick-rides
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Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:21 pm

Re: Pepper Pest Help

Thanks for the tips. I guess I have to keep searching until I actually find the culprit. That way I'll have a better idea of how to treat.

slick-rides
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Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:21 pm

Re: Pepper Pest Help

Still getting the pepper damage. Today I found an earwig inside of a damaged pepper. Think earwigs are my problem or did he just enter after something else chewed the holes?

imafan26
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Posts: 11363
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Pepper Pest Help

I'm not sure they are the culprit. They like to hide in cavernous spaces and while they do eat fruit, they also eat other insects. The holes look more like a corn borer. By the time the peppers get to that stage they have already pupated.
Remove the damaged fruit as soon as you see any holes especially near the cap. Try covering the peppers with a bag. I make mine out of tulle fabric. I make bags with a purse string closure to cover fruits. I make rectangles for peppers and tomatoes and longer bags for cukes and squash. It is important to cover the fruit soon after pollination. Most boring pests lay their eggs on the flowers or young fruit.

Slugs and snails prefer foliage but they will eat fruit, so put out sluggo just in case.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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