What is getting to my pepper plants?

Chris_HeekinJuly 8, 2012

I've got several poblano peppers and bell peppers all with various signs of whatever is eating them, as shown in the picture - lower leaves missing, upper leaves chewed on.

I can't see a caterpillar or horn worm on them, but there's obviously something.

Any ideas what's getting to these plants?

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habjolokia

It is probably what you suspect horn worm, time to go night time hunting. Because of the heat most likely is at night, shine a flashlight and look for glowing and nix em. Slugs do similar but usually not too high up on the plant.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 4:28PM
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esox07 (4b)

Yah, that plant looks like it might only have one more night's worth of feeding left on it.
Bruce

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 4:59PM
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robeb_gw

Did the culprit take all the bottom branches or did you trim those off?
Any hornworms should be easy to spot because there are so few leaves.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 5:10PM
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steven1032

horn worms stay on the top of the plant and should be easy to see. looks like grasshoppers. i see tomato plants next to it. you should inspect it for hornworms if there are some lurking. if not then grasshoppers.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 6:03PM
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Darylltx

use something called BT worm killer, it is a liquid that you put in a spray bottle and spray plants once every 4 or so days or when it rains. it specifically kills caterpillars and hornworms. It is not a pesticide or toxin. It is some sort of anti bacterial that only effects caterpillars. They nibbled on one leaf and die the next morning. I had hundreds of hornworms devastating my tomatoes and tried to hunt them one by one at night as suggested, but could never find them but once, yet I was losing 10 tomatoes a day, full sized tomatoes almost ready to harvest. The one day it stripped my Bhut. I didn't know they like peppers but apparently they attack some peppers. They didn't touch my jalapenos, but tried one of my cayennes and moved on. I guess the heat was too much for them. BT worm killer by green light at most big box stores.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 6:04PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Doubt it's caterpillars. Missing tissue is triangular. Birds? Or something else. Kids?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 6:49PM
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tsheets(5)

Did the lower leaves just disappear or did they yellow and fall off? The plant looks a bit yellow. Thought maybe there is (or was) more going on than just a hungry critter.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 7:29PM
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Chris_Heekin

Steven1032 - no sign of horn worm on the tomato plant.

tsheets - I think the leaves just disappeared. That plant does look a bit yellow, and in fact none of my pepper plants have been terrific producers this year - I got two or three bells from each of my bell peppers, and four or five fruits from each of my habeneros. Really, only my jalapenos are doing well this year.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 7:41PM
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steven1032

I'm going to go with small animal that ate all your branches. I also see signs of grass hopper damage on the top leaves. My best guess.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 12:50AM
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