What’s Consuming My Pepper Plant? Pepper Pests

What’s a pest? We use the time period “pest” for bugs that shortly reproduce and suck the life out of vegetation. As we study extra about pure areas and ecology, our angle in direction of pest management modifications and adapts. We now know that aphids and related pests are half of a bigger meals internet that impacts birds, mammals, and different bugs. 

Realizing that our actions influence the native surroundings will assist us resolve which options are greatest for pest management. We’ll need to select actions which have small impacts on the encompassing wildlife. Somewhat than leaping for the chemical pesticides, let’s attempt natural and non-lethal strategies first. 

It’s possible you’ll surprise, “Do natural strategies work?” I’m right here to verify that they do. I’ve been rising peppers for over 5 years utilizing natural and chemical-free strategies. Annually, I develop extra peppers than I do know what to do with! Observe my fast suggestions, and you’ll have productive peppers and a harmonious backyard very quickly.

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The Brief Reply

These bugs like to eat pepper vegetation:

  • Aphids
  • Flea and Cucumber Beetles
  • Corn Borers and Earworms
  • Hornworms and Cutworms
  • Pepper Weevils
  • Slugs and Snails
  • Stink Bugs
  • Thrips
  • Whiteflies

Every of those pests thrives and reproduces based on their life cycle. Learn the way and after they develop, and also you’ll have the right instruments to stop them from multiplying additional. Methods involving sturdy water streams, row covers, and micromesh cloth a

The Lengthy Reply

Methods to greatest fight a pest is determined by a couple of components: what sort of bug it’s, whether or not or not pure predators are already consuming it, and the way your backyard is ready up. Learn by way of every part to learn to get them off your crops. 


Aphids are tiny, soft-bodied insects with pale green pear-shaped bodies, found clustering on the green stem.
Handle aphid populations early to stop plant harm and infestation.

Aphids are small bugs with squishable our bodies now not than ⅛ of an inch. They feed in teams and kind colonies that shortly overrun younger vegetation. Vegetation with important aphid populations have curling leaves, discoloration, and mottled buds and stems. Aphids excrete a sticky substance that ants wish to feast on, so that you’ll usually see ants farming the aphids in excessive infestations.

Aphids begin to reproduce in spring and summer time when the climate warms. They multiply by way of eggs and asexually and might start as much as 30 generations a yr! Management populations earlier than they get out of hand, as they shortly overrun small seedlings and saplings.

Management extreme aphid infestations with sturdy, direct streams of water every day. Spray water from a hose or pressurized bottle immediately onto aphid populations. The water knocks them off the plant, making them extra vulnerable to soil predators. If there are small aphid populations, depart them be and monitor them. It’s possible you’ll discover ladybugs, murderer bugs, and parasitic wasps consuming them for you! 


The flea beetle is a small, shiny, metallic black beetle with enlarged hind legs on a green pepper leaf in the garden.
Defend peppers from hungry flea and cucumber beetles with strategic care.

Each flea and cucumber beetles assault peppers after they’re hungry. Injury seems as small, spherical holes in leaves and stems. Flea beetles are black and hop when disturbed. Cucumber beetles are yellow and black with spots or traces. Cucumber beetles additionally wish to chew on flowers and seedlings—they’ll eat total flowers off their favourite vegetation!

These two beetle sorts overwinter as adults beneath rotting leaves and backyard particles. They lay eggs primarily within the soil, however some cucumber beetles lay them on the vegetation they feed on. A spring frenzy happens as eggs hatch and adults come out of their protecting properties to feed on stay plant matter. Use row cowl in early spring to maintain them away; take away the quilt when flowers seem so pollinators are available. 

Different strategies contain predatory nematodes as organic controls; these predators assault the beetle larvae underground, so that you don’t need to. Use Steinernema riobrave for cucumber beetles and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora for flea beetles. Bolster plant immunity by selecting beetle-resistant pepper varieties. Mulch closely with compost—rotting natural matter offers vitamins to pepper vegetation and makes them resilient to pest assaults.

Corn Borers and Earworms

The corn earworm is a caterpillar with a cylindrical body striped in shades of gray and brown on a green leaf.
Forestall earworm and borer infestations to safeguard your peppers.

Each of those worms are the larvae of grownup moths that desire corn over the rest. They often feed on peppers when they’re close to corn infestations. The moths lay eggs on vulnerable vegetation, the place they hatch after a couple of days. Injury seems on leaves and fruits because the wormy larvae bore into the chiles and trigger important harm. 

Prevention is the most effective methodology, as as soon as these critters are inside fruit, it’s practically inconceivable to regulate them. Discard contaminated fruit, and take away infested vegetation after the rising season. Make sure you choose up any rotting pepper fruits so borers and earworms don’t overwinter in your backyard.

The place infestations are notably extreme, contemplate crop rotation. Plant peppers in a separate location the place the larvae are unlikely to be. Rotating places yearly or two retains the inhabitants low. 

Hornworms and Cutworms

Close-up of a green caterpillar eating the leaves of a young pepper seedling in a garden against a blurred background.
Worms threaten younger vegetation from above and beneath floor.

Worms assault pepper vegetation after they need to feast. Tomato hornworms feast aboveground on plant leaves, with one worm shortly defoliating younger vegetation. The worms are three to 5 inches lengthy, inexperienced with white stripes, and have a pink or black horn construction that grows off their behinds.

Cutworms are a lot smaller and stay beneath the soil. They’re white with brown-black markings, they usually curl up right into a “C” form when disturbed. These worms feed on tender younger seedlings and saplings beneath the soil; their identify “cutworm” comes from the chopping motion they do on begins and transplants. 

Management hornworms by handpicking them off vegetation. Relocate them to wild nightshades or different nightshade vegetation you don’t thoughts them nibbling on if you wish to assist sphinx moth pollination.  You may also get rid of the worms in a close-by hen feeder or bury them. Parasitic wasps lay their eggs on this pest—for those who see a number of white sacs on the worm, depart or not it’s. The wasp larvae hatch out of the sacs and kill the worm, after which they mature into grownup wasps to repeat the cycle. 

Preserve cutworms at bay by clearing all early spring sprouting weeds. They use the weedy greenery as a meals supply, and eradicating it deprives them of meals. Place saucers with cornmeal the place cutworms thrive; the cornmeal attracts them, however they’ll’t digest it. Helpful nematodes Steinernema carpocapsae and S. feltiae assault cutworms and work nicely as organic management.

Pepper Weevils

The Pepper Weevil is a small, dark-colored beetle with distinctive long snouts and elbowed antennae, observed on a raised wooden bed with young pepper seedlings growing nearby.
Tiny beetles damage peppers by nesting inside and inflicting decay.

Pepper weevils are nasty little critters that stay inside pepper fruits. They kind networks of holes contained in the chiles and depart their waste mendacity about. Fruits with pepper weevils have a gap of entry, they usually’re mushy with indicators of rot and discoloration. 

Like corn borers, pepper weevil larvae hatch and eat the within of the peppers. The larvae are tiny white worms with segments. Grownup pepper weevils seem like tiny black beetles. They, too, eat pepper fruit. 

Pepper weevils overwinter in fallen fruit and decaying vegetation. To successfully management their unfold, pull up infested vegetation on the finish of the season, and discard them away from the backyard. Take away any fallen fruit from the soil. These steps ought to hold this pest away for the subsequent rising season. 

Slugs and Snails

Close-up of a Roman snail, a large terrestrial gastropod with a rounded, spiral shell adorned with distinct brown and cream-colored bands, on a pepper plant with a red elongated fruit and oval tapered leaves of a bright green color.
Leaf-eating slugs and snails threaten younger backyard vegetation.

Widespread backyard pests, slugs and snails assault younger seedlings and transplants earlier than they set up themselves. Injury seems on leaves, the place they eat the entire fleshy components and depart the leaf veins. These gradual crawlers depart irregular holes on leaves, they usually cover underneath decaying natural matter.

There are millions of species worldwide, they usually differ in look. They lay eggs within the soil, which then hatch into child crawlers. Each adults and children feed readily on decaying and recent plant matter—some species are predatory carnivores and eat different slugs!

A number of slugs aren’t unhealthy—they’re the pure prey of chickens, geese, and garter snakes. In moist areas, toads, frogs, and different amphibians love feasting on these slimy creatures. Defend younger vegetation with a strip of copper buried within the soil; the copper reacts with their slime and shocks them. Saucers of beer entice each slugs and snails with the odor of yeast. They fall into the saucers and might’t get again up! Natural slug bait can also be an choice. 

Stink Bugs

Close-up of a Stink Bug, a shield-shaped insect with mottled brown coloration, on a flowering pepper plant.
The invasive brown marmorated stink bug damages pepper vegetation extensively.

A international plant predator, stink bugs migrated to North America from Asia within the Nineties. Often called the brown marmorated stink bug, this pest feeds on your complete pepper plant. It leaves mottled harm on leaves, and small discolored dimples on peppers. Grownup stink bugs have a protect form and are shorter than an inch. 

One annoying conduct of theirs is their overwintering; reasonably than keep open air, they arrive indoors to benefit from the heat. Entice bugs indoors, squish them, and compost them. Outdoor, hand choose them.


Close-up of a small white pepper flower infested with tiny, elongated insects with fringed wings known as Thrips.
Тiny thrips threaten vegetation with virus unfold and leaf harm.

Pests often called thrips are widespread in greenhouse and indoor rising conditions, the place they thrive with little disturbance of their life cycle. They’re smaller than a centimeter with brilliant inexperienced and yellow hues. Thrips feed on flowers, ripening fruit, and leaves. Adults lay eggs contained in the leaves, shielding younglings from pesticides, predators, and squishing. 

This bug springs off of vegetation whenever you disturb or shake them. Use this to your benefit and dampen vegetation with extreme infestations. Do that a couple of times a day till the thrips go away; regulate your vegetation so you may spray off newly hatched infants. 

Thrips unfold viruses that show deadly to pepper vegetation. Plant disease-resistant varieties and additional bolster your vegetation’ strengths. Cowl the bottom with compost and hold your peppers nicely watered—wholesome vegetation are resilient, and slightly preventative care goes a great distance for pest resistance.


Close-up of a man's hand showing Chili leaves infected with whiteflies that appear stippled with tiny, white, moth-like insects.
Tiny whiteflies thrive in heat indoor environments, attracting pure predators.

Whiteflies are a favourite meals for lacewings, ladybugs, and parasitic wasps. They’re nearly microscopic, measuring now not than 1/20” to 1/10” lengthy. They fly round however desire to remain in teams in a selected space. Like thrips, whiteflies thrive in heat situations generally present in indoor greenspaces and greenhouses. 

Whiteflies are tough to regulate as soon as they set up themselves. Entice mature flies with yellow boards coated in a sticky substance. Yellow colours entice the whiteflies, and glue or the same sticky substance binds them to the board. These are greatest utilized in greenhouses and enclosed areas as they entice and hurt all bugs. 

This fly happens closely in areas the place artificial pesticides and herbicides are constantly current—the chemical compounds kill all bugs, together with predatory management species. With out predators, whiteflies shortly return and colonize the realm. Use natural strategies, and foster a various mixture of flowering vegetation to ask pure pest predators into the panorama. 

Last Ideas

By the point you’re studying this text, likelihood is pests are in your pepper plant! Spray them off, put some compost down, and reduce the infested components off. With continued monitoring, spraying, and prevention, the pests of this yr can be lengthy passed by subsequent yr. 

For fast outcomes, attempt traps, organic controls, and protecting buildings. Squishing aphids and beetles could seem gross, but it surely helps your vegetation after they want it most. Get in there, get soiled, and shield these peppers! They’ll thanks for it in autumn after they produce bushels of fruit. 

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