bell pepper problem?

lazygardnmomAugust 4, 2010

What is wrong with my peppers???????? I have 7red bell pepper plants and only one of them is infected. I think it is some kind of bug or larvae but I can't see anything on the fruit or plant!!!! Only the outer waxy coating is effected it looks as if something is trailing around under the outer coating and it will peel of when rubbed, the flesh is still crisp and crunchy and there are no bugs or mold or anything wrong inside, the plant looks super healthy and the peppers are a really good size and quantity. The smaller ones are fine it only happens when they start to turn red. Uggg, I don't know what to do, I picked off all of the ones that looked like this last week and then this week there are several more. I have searched all over the internet and haven't been able to find a pest, disease or fungus that looks similar. Has anyone else had this before????

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The pepper looks like it is starting to rot. Have you having humid weather like a lot of us are? That could be the culprit. Humidity holds fungal spores close to the ground. Try spraying that plant with garlic water or water and baking soda every day for a while. Do it before any more peppers are infected. Early morning is the best time

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 3:17AM
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Sunscald, I suspect.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 11:06PM
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looks like soft rot finished the job. The occasional pepper in my garden with soft rot, often has a translucent area where it's been scalded and unless harvested quickly will set the stage for a soft rot infection. I have had some tomatoes scalded this year too because the harvest is just huge and sticks out of the foliage. Temps in nineties and full sun.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 11:36PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

To all who have responded so far -- please note the squiggly lines. If in a leaf, they would be due to a leafminer.

That said, I've never seen such damage in a pepper itself, but that doesn't make it impossible.

To lazygardnmom --

First, please add your location info to your My Page. It's helpful to know the city & state when diagnosing plant problems.

I suggest you contact your county's Extension Service office to ask some very direct questions about damage to the fruit that looks the same as that from leafminers.

In some cases, such offices accept emailed images.

You might also take images to a large independent garden center where someone may be familiar with the problem.

Then return to let us know what you learned.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 10:08AM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

I was confused (still am) by the apparent rot from sunscald accompanied by what looks like leafminer. I'd magnify and see if there is a miner(s) evident and check if the fruits are in full sun.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 10:32AM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Some facts to recognize:
- The initial damage only lifted the surface "skin."
- Damage from sunscald is different because it also affects deeper tissues.
- More than likely, the miner has already left.
- If the pepper is rotting, it's secondary to the insect damage.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 10:47AM
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You may be right, Jean because the fruit appeared rotted to me on my monitor and I missed where she said the underlying tissues were still firm. But the affected area almost follows a topographical pattern of elevation like the contour of the pepper sticking out most. Sunscald doesn't always present as dry lesions, and can be translucent.

I can certainly see where it could be suspected as insect damage, but the distribution of the damage just strikes me as environmental. I would also be interested in what an extension agent says.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 11:15AM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

When you look at miner damage magnified, it is clear what it is; you do not need the critter to be present. On my monitor with the quality of that pic it looks like sunscald from here.

But to me it is clear a distance diagnosis may not be forthcoming, and I'd take it to the Extension Agent/MG/decent nursery like Jean sez.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 11:34AM
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Thanks for the replies. I live in Kingsburg, CA zone 9.
It isn't sun scald as the infected peppers have all been on the inside of the plant and well shaded, also my peppers that do get sun scald are always on the west side of the plant where they get the hot afternoon sun. and these have all been on the east. And the trails are evident. A leaf miner is the closest thing I have come across so far when looking for information but haven't found any where where they attack anything but leaves. As far as humidity, I don't know ha ha. I don't go outside when it's hot, Right now it says the humidity is 40% is that high. It doesn't feel sticky outside. I am only out in the garden between 5:30 am and 7am. We have been in the high 90's and low 100's but I don't think humidity is usually much of a problem here. Everyone says we have a dry heat.
Unfortunately i don't have a "good" garden center near by. And I have heard of extension services but thought they were only for large farms. Thanks, I will have to check into that.
Until I peel away the outer coating, the fruit itself is perfectly healthy and then starts to wilt and get soft where I remove the costing within 30 minutes or so. I think it is some kind of critter.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 10:57PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)


Thanks for the info.

You're likely to get helpful info from Fresno County's Extension service -- they assist commercial & home growers, and much more.
Here's their website

Perhaps even better, your county's Agricultural Commission is an excellent resource for you. They would be *the* folks to go to if this is a new or recent problem in your area.
Here's their website

More than likely, both agencies accept emails with images attached. I'd call first, then follow up with a visit (w/sample in hand if nearby) or w/an email plus images.

Then, please let us know what you learned. In the 30-some years I gardened in SoCal, I never saw anything like your damage. But that was 12 years ago; a number of new "unfriends" have discovered CA since then.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fresno County Ag Commission

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 1:44PM
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I think that the problem could go way beyond the obvious, especially if it is exhibited in the fruit of numerous plants. You wouldn't have to have extraordinary exposure to sunlight for the fruit to be damaged if there were a problem with the cuticle (outer coating) wax formation and that can even be caused by a genetic mutation. The fact that the damage does appear to be limited to the outer cuticle of the fruit is why I find it interesting and I have seen this phenomenon before, but usually just pitched the unit without bothering to identify it. When the cuticle is damaged, its ability to protect the area of the fruit underneath is compromised. Unless you are very familiar with the physiology of pepper plants, I don't think you can easily discount what any of us have suggested without a professional looking at it. I'd also like to know what a hands on opinion is just out of curiosity. But, it's your time and your peppers. ;-)

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 7:18PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)


Have you received any info about your pepper?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 11:06PM
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