The Q&A Archives: Borers in Pepper Plants

Question: I have a pest that has bored up through the stem of my plant 'Christmas' ornamental hot pepper. There's no sign of entry, and none of the fruit show sign of injury. This borer is about 1/16 long and has a white body and a brown head. I have never heard of a corn borer attacking pepper plants. Other pepper plants did not appear to be injured. I am now trying to grow this pest so that I can find what the adult looks like. Any ideas or suggestions?

Answer: Both corn earworms and European corn borer (ECB) attack peppers, though they usually choose the fruit for their feast. The description fits the ECB, though, and unfortunately, they enter plants immediately after they hatch, and so are protected from pesticides and predators. Your best bet is to grow your 'Christmas' peppers under lightweight row cover, which will prevent the adult moths from laying eggs on the plants. Your extension service (ph# 813/353-4244) can tell you when moths are likely tobe most active in your area, so you can remove covers when the danger has passed. They can also give you a positive ID on the culprit!

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