The Q&A Archives: Something is eating our peppers

Question: My husband and I planted some jalapeno plants and a yellow wax pepper plant. All of the plants have produced peppers, but before they mature something is eating them. I haven't noticed anything else in the garden being eaten, not even the tomatoes. What would eat the peppers and leave everything else?

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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