misscorey
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Beetles on Jalapeno Plant...Bad?

I have a jalapeno plant that has been acting really strange....first the leaves started to die, now they look fine but are covered in a white chalky powder-like substance I can't seem to get rid of. Finally today I went to water it in the morning and the drainage tray around the bottom of the pot was covered in beetles! Big, gross brown beetles! They were not there yesterday, and today there was about 20 of them in the drainage tray, no exaggeration. I didn't take a picture of them because I am phobic of large bugs. Could there be any correlation between the state of the plant and the bugs? How did they get there and how do I keep them from coming back? Thanks!
misscoreystyle

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Kisal
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Without seeing a picture of the beetles, I can't guess what they were, why they were there, or how to keep them from coming back. Are they gone now? If the beetles are still around, could you have a friend or family member take a picture of them and post it here for you?

The white, powdery-looking substance on the leaves might be powdery mildew, but again, without a picture, I can't really be certain. Could you take a picture of that and post it for us?

misscorey
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Photos!!

The beetles were back this morning....just three of them this time. Here is a shot of one of them:
[url=https://img17.imageshack.us/i/dsc00541ksf.jpg/][img]https://img17.imageshack.us/img17/8300/dsc00541ksf.th.jpg[/img][/url]

And here's what the white stuff looks like on the leaves:

[url=https://img195.imageshack.us/i/dsc00538d.jpg/][img]https://img195.imageshack.us/img195/2900/dsc00538d.th.jpg[/img][/url]


Any ideas what could be happening? Why do they keep coming back? I can't have these things crawling all over my backyard because I seriously dislike large bugs. :cry:
misscoreystyle

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Kisal
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I'm sorry. I can't see the beetle well enough to make an ID.

While it's certainly possible that the larvae of the beetles chewed the holes in the leaves, I really can't say for sure. It could just as well have been the larvae of a butterfly or moth. To be perfectly honest, I'm not positive the hole in the leaf was caused by any kind of critter. As a rule, if something is eating the leaves of a plant, you'll find much more damage than is evident in the picture. Are there holes in several of the leaves, that just don't show in the picture?

On the other hand, damage from caterpillars/larvae is usually on the edge of the leaf, rather than in the center. A slug or snail will eat through the center of a leaf, so perhaps that's the real culprit. I have a lot of slugs and snails in my yard. I often find them during the day, hiding under the rolled rim of pots such as the one in your picture. You can set out shallow containers of beer as bait for slugs and snails. Don't place the containers right close to the plants you want to protect, though. Either bury the container up to its rim in the soil, or else give the critters a little ramp to crawl up to get to the beer. They drink it, get drunk, fall in, and drown. I have had excellent success using beer for slugs, but snails ... well, not so much. For snails, I prefer to pick them off by hand, drop them on the ground, and step on them. There are many ways to deal with them, however. Type slugs and snails in the search box on the left of the upper part of the page. Click Search, and you will find a wealth of ideas for dealing with the problem.

It does look as if your pepper plant might have some powdery mildew on the leaves. A good organic treatment is to spray it with a mixture of 1 part milk to 10 parts water. Be sure to spray the stems and the undersides of the leaves, as well as the tops.

If you like, you can spray your plant with a solution of soap and water to kill caterpillars and larvae, but the treatment has to be repeated every 7 to 10 days, about 4 times, to kill any new ones that hatch out. I don't know whether it will have any effect on the adult beetles. Be sure to use soap, and not detergent. Read the label before you use the product. Mix about 1 tsp of soap to 1 quart of water. Spray as described for the milk solution.

Sorry to have rambled on so long, but HTH! :)
"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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BrianSkilton
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Looks like a June Bug to me. Not sure if they do much damage to pepper plants.
Why buy produce when you can grow it?
-Nick

misscorey
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Thank you so much for your help! Any idea where they are coming from? I had one colleague tell me there were probably eggs in the original soil when I bought the plant...is that possible?
misscoreystyle

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Kisal
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The beetle does look like it could be a June bug. I wasn't aware that they came in brown. I've only seen the green ones. I've never seen any at all in the time I've lived in Oregon.

June bugs are a type of scarab beetle. They do lay their eggs in the soil, but they stay there for at least a year. The last stage of the larvae are large white grubs, about an inch long. If they were in the potting mix, I think you'd have noticed them when you planted your pepper. The grubs feed on roots.

It's more likely ... IMO, anyway ... that the grubs were in your lawn. The adults emerge mid to late June, and are drawn to light, so if your pepper plant is near an outside light ... on a porch or patio, for instance ... that may be why the beetles congregated in the saucer of the plant.

According to what I found with Google, the grubs can be controlled by treating your yard with Heterorhabditis bacteriophora nematodes. You should be able to buy some at any good plant nursery, and the staff there should be able to tell you how to apply them. If you can't fine the nematodes locally, you can undoubtedly buy them online. You might also contact your nearest Extension Service office for information about the nematodes. If you can control the grubs, there will be few or no beetles next year. :)
"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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