Pepper weevil in field peppers

Pepper weevil adult on pepper budPepper weevil is not usually given much thought in field peppers in Ontario, but from time to time it might be found in a localized area. It is a pest to be aware of, because there are very few external signs that indicate there is larvae present inside the pepper fruit.

Pepper weevil is unlikely to survive typical winter conditions in Ontario unless in a protected area, so risk factors for the pest include proximity to pepper greenhouses/packing sheds or culls/waste plant material from these operations or from areas with warm winters, like the southern US. If you are in a risk area, consider field scouting and pheromone traps.

Pepper weevil larvae in pepper fruitThe 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. Although adult pepper weevil may feed on fruit, flowers, 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.

Host plants include peppers, nightshade, and eggplant. It attacks both sweet and hot varieties of peppers. It will also feed on related weeds and crops. The pest could complete several generations through the growing season.

Pepper weevil adultWhen field scouting, inspect flower bud clusters for damage and the plants for the presence of adults. A yellow calyx on the fruit may indicate that a pepper is infested. Fallen fruit can be cut open to look for larvae, but this is not a method for early detection. For pheromone traps, see the list of pest monitoring equipment suppliers on OMAFRA’s website. You will need the pheromone lure and a yellow sticky card (available as a kit from Trécé suppliers). Lures may currently be in limited supply. Contact Janice LeBoeuf, OMAFRA at janice.leboeuf@ontario.ca or 519-674-1699 for more information including management options.

For more information:

Image credits:

  • Pepper weevil adult on pepper bud, Alton N. Sparks, Jr., University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
  • Pepper weevil larvae in pepper fruit, Alton N. Sparks, Jr., University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
  • Pepper weevil adult, Anyi Mazo-Vargas, University of Puerto Rico, Bugwood.org

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