The Q&A Archives: Holes in Peppers

Question: I two poblano pepper plants in my garden. One of the plants had developed fruit about two inches long when I noticed holes in the peppers and one of the peppers had fallen to the ground. The holes are large and irregular. Whatever it is that's doing the damage, I haven't been able to spot it inside or outside the pepper. So far, none of my other peppers or tomatoes seem to be affected. Any ideas on what the pest might be and how to stop it?

Answer: Since sprays of ground-up hot peppers can deter insects, it's logical to think that pests don't usually bother pepper plants. There are, however, a few exceptions. The pepper weevil, a 1/8 inch long, brass-colored beetle with a brown snout, and its 1/4 inch long larva, a white worm with a beige head, can cause problems with peppers. The larvae feed on the insides of fruits, causing the peppers to rot and drop off. There are also pepper maggots that cause problems with peppers. The adults are yellow flies and the larvae are yellow, peg-shaped worms. They, too, feed on the fruits of pepper plants. Destroy any infected fruits, and if the feed continues to be a problem, use a floating row cover to protect your plants. Plant your peppers in a different spot in the garden next year so overwintering eggs won't hatch and start munching on your peppers again.

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