White holes in hot peppers

aznboi385February 29, 2012

I'm not sure if this is a disease or a pest. A lot of my peppers seem to have these holes with white rings on them (first picture). When I crack them open I don't really see any pests, but the insides turn dry and black.

Also, some other red peppers have these empty capsules on them. It looks like abandoned egg sacs of some sort (picture 2). Any idea what I'm dealing with?

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It's definitely a pest, I just never figured out which one.

The lack of a living pest inside made me think Pepper Maggot, eggs are inserted and the larvae eats it way out BUT, the chewing on yours and mine indicate something ate its way in.

I've also had issues with earwigs punching holes in peppers and moving in but the holes are larger.

I had the same problem in 2010:

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 7:31PM
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Hi aznboi385 and Ottawapepper, looks to be the work of the pepper weevil. Maybe keep en eye out for them over next couple of days just to be sure. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 8:16PM
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Good call habjolokia. Makes sense for CA growers.

Unfortunately for me, odd are it wasn't weevil. Up north here they're only a problem if they can over winter in a greenhouse. As far as I can tell, there ain't no greenhouses within bug flying distance to me.

An excerpt from an recent Ontario agriculture report:

This pest does not overwinter in Ontario fields (it requires living hosts year round to survive), so its presence would be of concern to field pepper growers only if it escaped a greenhouse/packing shed or was present on waste plant material transported from these operations during the growing season.

The adult lays eggs in the wall of the pepper fruit. The larva emerges and moves directly into the fruit, so it is difficult to detect and is protected from insecticide applications. Eggs may also be laid on flowers and buds. Adults feed on fruit and flowers, but prior to flowering, they will feed on stems and leaves. The most serious concerns are for the presence of larvae in the fruit and premature fruit drop due to adult and larval activity. The pest could complete several generations through the growing season.

Host plants include peppers, nightshade, and eggplant. It will also feed on tomato, petunia, horsenettle, and other solanaceous weeds.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 9:09PM
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I'm in CA so it could be the pepper weevil, but I haven't seen ANYTHING alive near the plant. Only some lady bugs. There's nothing crawling around and there's nothing inside the peppers either. It's just some blackening and dryness of the pepper on the inside.

If it is the pepper weevil, how do I control them?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 12:48PM
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I've only encountered one, once in TX years ago, have not delt with them in MD at all. If its infrequent maybe they were passing by munching and have not setup shop.

Here is a link that might be useful: This link may help

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 4:13PM
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I understand your desire to quickly rid yourself of the pest to save your crop but it's best to id the pest before you start applying fixes. By applying the most effective fix for your pest you'll save time, money, effort and most importantly not kill off any beneficial insects a scatter shot might.

Insect strips can help you trap and identify pests on your plants. I use Safer's sticky sticks (pic below) but you can fashion your own traps using fly paper.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 5:31PM
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Didn't someone once say "Nuke em from orbit... Its the only way to be sure".

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 1:38AM
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esox07 (4b)

Carpet bombing is the only sure way. Mix in a few bunker busters and you should be pest free in hours.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 2:05AM
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I believe greenman28 once said nuke em from orbit" when discussing the purely evil spider mite.

I have however suggested in the past resort to full chemical warfare only when you're going to loose the plants anyway. You'll still probably loose the plants but you get some satisfaction out of unleashing the wrath of Dupont or Dow on the little buggers

Anyhow, I still contend it's best to know the enemy you're dealing with... a 303 is overkill on a squirrel but a pellet gun on a bear will get will get you killed ;-))

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 1:38PM
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esox07 (4b)

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 3:09PM
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I'll try putting up some stickies. Can any kind of tape work or do I need special tape. What about duct tape? Also, where would I stick this on the plant? Do i set it up around the branches or does it need to be near the ground or something. My pepper plannt is like 3-4 feet high...

Here's another pic of the damage if this helps.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 5:36PM
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Bug tape / fly strips are yellow because yellow seems to attract insects.

I would put some of them low and some higher up around a couple of plants. The sticky sticks I use come with stack-able posts so you can increase the height. You could fashion your own with varying lengths of sticks etc. and fly paper.

Unless you lay some on your soil, sticky traps may or may not catch your pest if it isn't a flying one. Also, the traps are indiscriminate, they'll catch both good and bad so you'll need to do some detective work.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 6:24PM
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A thought just struck me... don't know why I didn't think of it sooner.

You folks in the US have a wonderful resource with your USDA Extension system. Have you thought about checking with your Extension? Based on their regional experience they may be able to help you narrow your problem down or even offer a solution.

Just a thought.

Here is a link that might be useful: University of California Cooperative Extension

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 6:47PM
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esox07 (4b)

What? Expect customer service from the government?

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 10:43PM
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You need garden spiders! god bless the lil multi leg beast, let him spin his web and kill all the the lil weevils and knats.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 7:35PM
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Hey guys... sorry to helping bring up an old thread but this might help the culprits. This just happen to me recently on my 3rd round of pods off of 2 plants this year "2 1/2 lbs so far :P , btw off my 3 year old plants". Anyways I notice 8 peppers that way and the very last one i cut open to check it it was a cockroach inside of the pepper... go figure. so around the pot i been sprinkling balls of 1/2 borax + 1/2 sugar mixture then with enough water to make it to a thick paste "like dough i guess even tho not close..." to make little balls or little white pebbles. and so far many balls/pebbles gone no roaches.

just a heads up of new pepper stealers :)

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 9:36PM
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