Is it Stink Bugs?

plantgrrl(7a)July 17, 2013

Lost two Anaheim peppers today to some sort of insect. My neighbor says she can't let her tomatoes vine ripen because of "stink bugs"--is that what's going on here? What to do?

Don't mind the dampness in this picture. It won't stop raining here in VA.

This post was edited by plantgrrl on Wed, Jul 17, 13 at 17:16

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And another...

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 4:09PM
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one more after this...

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 4:10PM
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this is on two of the 4 Anaheim plants...other two are currently unaffected.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 4:11PM
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tony469(modesto zone 9)

Not sure looks to me like possible catapillar damage..check under leaves

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 4:31PM
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Google images for tomato horn worm then look to see if you can find any.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 4:47PM
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Hmm...that's the weird thing, when I look under the leaves, I get nothin'! There are caterpillars all over my cabbage family stuff, but not on the nightshade family stuff. What about slugs? Lots of those, I just didn't think they would damage the fruits like that...

A little damage on the green peppers, but not the cayennes at all, are they too "hot" for them. I'm just perplexed.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 4:47PM
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I just scavenged around all of the peppers, not a single hornworm in sight (thank god! Those things look monstrous!). I did spy at few slugs on top of the cayennes...but they just met their maker...These plants really aren't large enough to hid something as large as a hornworm without me noticing. :( Unless they hid during the day? I mean I checked under all the leaves and along the stalks.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 5:34PM
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They're monstrous but they're sneaky-- you can be standing there staring at your plant and he's munching away on top in plain sight. And no to the "too hot" question... 2 attacked my Naga last year -- left the others alone.

You could have TWO culprits -- slugs or caterpillars for the leaf damage and something else(maybe a rodent) for the fruit.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 7:04PM
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Shucks! I'll have to keep an eye on the Habs and Cayennes then. Talked to the neighbor again, she says we don't have Tomato Hornworms in Lynchburg, VA (suppose I'll double check) she insists it's the stink bugs.

The fruits themselves, it's hard to see in the picture, but it looks like a spot where the bug gnawed a hole and then papery, rotty skin in streaks and around the hole. I don't know if after the hole is chewed it rots from all the wet we're having or if the papery rotting is from the insects.

Pepper weevils have been seen as far north as VA, but it seems unlikely. Esp. because there weren't any bugs inside the pepper.

If I get desperate, would some kind of "bagging" over the fruit...mesh or old nylons, let them ripen, or would that keep too much moisture next to the fruit?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 8:02PM
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I have been dealing with horn worms this season for the first time. You will not see the horn worm without very close inspection they have nearly perfect camouflage. You WILL see the demolished portions of the plant they are on, there is no mistaking it. They eat ludicrous amounts per day and can strip half a pepper plant overnight (they feed at night, actually). If you see entirely stripped sections of foliage then you pretty much know there is horn worm nearby.

I always find them withing a foot or 2 of the damage, they eat constantly so they leave a nice trail to follow. I found one that was just over 5 inches long a couple weeks ago!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 10:51PM
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plantgrrl: Not sure of the eating habits of stink bugs.

I find it hard to believe you don't have hornworms in VA... maybe your neighbor meant TOMATO hornworm and that MAY be correct. Because TOBACCO hornworms are what prevails in the southern latitudes. Doesn't matter -- hornworms of any kind will munch on pepper plants of any kind. Maybe you're lucky and you don't get them -- that would be nice!

Sure..mesh, tulle,.nylons would be great I suppose.

Good luck.


This post was edited by woohooman on Thu, Jul 18, 13 at 11:22

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 11:42PM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

This looks very much like slug damage to me. I have lots of them and set traps for them, go out on slug patrol after sundown, and have recently put down some slug bait since I have no animals. They will completely take the leaves off pepper plants, and I have even found some of them make holes in bell peppers. Earwigs will also do this, but they usually nibble around the edges of the leaves. I have had stink bugs (Saw only 2 so far this year) but they attack my flowers and buds. Go out at night with a flashlight and you will catch the culprit.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 2:53AM
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@Phildeez--that really settles it then. They are not defoliating. There are some holes in leaves and some leaves that are growing in twisted. Some of the peppers have been snacked on, some with rot, some not. But no "trails of destruction" as it were.

@woohooman--You seem tense...if you'll go back and reread I specifically said "Tomato Hornworm." And looking it up, it would seem VA does have them. Though they are more prevalent in other parts of the "Piedmont" then ours, so she could be right about Lynchburg, specifically--esp. since I haven't seen any hawkmoths--but you can bet I'll be on the lookout.

@northerner_on Slugs have been truly horrible this year. I've been putting down iron phosphate baits, but with all the rains we've been having they only work a few days before they dissolve. It's been raining *hard* almost daily for the last few weeks, my beer traps keep getting filled with water. Gah! I guess I'll hand pick tonight, rain or no, and see if it is the slugs. (Early this season I hand picked about 300 in an hour, off of the basils and dill and other small herbs I was hardening off.

I'll report back and let you know.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 10:12AM
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Tense?? At times. Now or when I replied, I don't think so.

Anyhow, that would be great if you don't get them, whatever the species. Btw, you probably won't see hawk moths -- they come out at night.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 11:32AM
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I really don't think its stink bugs. I've losing the battle to them all year to the point I lost all 90 tomato plants and all my watermelon. Been raining so much that seven dust is ineffective. But the damage looked nothing like that. Also stink bugs(mine at least) make no effort to hide. As a side note if I ever see another tobacco worm I'm burning the garden down.I thought my wife would die laughing. 6ft 4in 210lb grown man run screaming from a 6 inch catipillar.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 2:49AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I don't think either its the stink bugs problem. The most likely suspects, IMO, are the slugs/snails. They come out at night and stick around all night and sometimes, in rainy cloudy days they become active during the day as well

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 7:32AM
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