The Q&A Archives: Pepper plants

Question: Something is picking all the leaves off my pepper plants. It is usually the same four plants. All I have left are stems. What could it be? I dust them with 7 dust for pest controll.

Answer: It sounds like tomato hornworm damage (yes, they also like pepper plant leaves). These huge (3" long) caterpillars are the larval stage of Sphinx moths and they have incredible appetites. They can denude a plant in a day's time. The caterpillars are a convenient green color so they are hard to see at first, but if you carefully inspect your plants you may see them at work. Bt (bacillus thuringensis) is a botanical that acts as a stomach poison and is deadly to caterpillars. I'd stop using Sevin on my food crops - the insecticide kills bees and you need bees to pollinate the flowers so fruit will set.

Best wishes with your pepper plants!

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