The Q&A Archives: What's eating green peppers?

Question: My pepper plants are getting lots of holes and it sure looks like something is eating them. I have looked often and cannot see any pest on them. Have tried general vegetable sprays.

Answer: Peppers are generally quite healthy but pests can be an occasional problem. Tiny green aphids sometimes cluster on the tips of branches. In large numbers, they suck plant juices, which deform the leaves and steal energy from the plant. Aphids can also spread viruses. A strong spray of water from the garden hose can knock aphids off the plants. Caterpillars, including corn earworms and corn borers, can destroy the fruits; hornworms eat both fruits and leaves; weevils and flea beetles can make holes in the leaves. I can't tell from your description just what the munching pest might be. Perhaps they've fed and already left the area. If you've already used insecticides and new damage is appearing, I wonder if slugs or snails are visiting at night? Try to catch one in the act of eating the leaves by visiting your garden at different times of the day, and at dusk. If you find slugs or snails, you can use an iron based bait such as Sluggo to control the pests. Good luck with your pepper plants.

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