Pepper Weevil in New Jersey Joseph Ingerson-Mahar Vegetable IPM Coordinator Background In 2004, one NJ farmer lost an estimated $60,000 due to an infestation of pepper weevil,
which attacked all varieties of peppers on the farm. A sporadic pest in NJ, the infestation was not recognized until significant damage had been done. In 2005 a general panic ensued when it appeared that pepper weevil had been found again. 2005 - What happened?
Because of the 2004 infestation, local farmers were concerned about potential infestations Weevils of the same size, shape, coloration were caught immediately when pheromone traps were set Lack of accurate literature on identifying pepper weevil adults Similar weevils found at other farms the tip off that something was wrong
2005 - What happened? Lack of accompanying information on pepper weevil traps Disadvantages of the traps Pheromone lures also attracted at least 3 other species of weevils, which were similar in size and color Yellow sticky card attracted many other insects especially whiteflies and thrips, beetles, flies Sticky card material tore easily and slid done dowel
supporting it This is not the first time Serious infestations have occurred in New Jersey in the past 1957, 1967,1985, 1988 and 1989 (Ghidiu and Rabin The Grower, 1991) There was a light infestation at Centerton Research Farm and a local farm in unsprayed
Long slender snout Elbowed, clubbed antennae Spur/spine on underside of femur Pepper Weevil Biology Adult is about 3/16 inch long Adults readily fly Texas threshold is to spray if
1 beetle is found in 200 plants 0 tolerance Normally an extreme southern insect, northern infestations are a result of hitchhiking J. Ingerson-Mahar Life Cycle
Female beetle lays 200 300 eggs in flower buds and small fruit 2 to 3 weeks to complete life cycle Overwinter only in southern parts of Florida, Texas and California
Damage ovipositional scars J. IngersonMahar J. Ingerson-Mahar Damage larval feeding J. Ingerson-Mahar
J. Ingerson-Mahar Larval and pupal stages pupa larva J. Ingerson-Mahar Larval and pupal closeups
Legless grubs Pupae Photo credit: Extension Entomology, Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University Adults
Adults remain in the fruit until either they chew a hole to escape or the pepper rots Adult exit hole
J. Ingerson-Mahar What to look for Aborted fruit and flowers Less yield than expected J. Ingerson-Mahar
Beating for Adults Adult weevils can be found by beating: Hold a pan under a branch of the pepper plant and strike the branch with a screwdriver or
handle. The adults will fall into the pan Insecticidal Control Difficult to achieve control of a large infestation Pupa in cell inside pepper
An insecticide application may kill the exposed adults but more adults will emerge as the pupae mature making repeated insecticide applications necessary. We recommend Not to rely on pepper weevil pheromone traps until the lure is made more selective for pepper weevil. Instead Be diligent in checking for excessive flower and fruit drop and periodically cut
open dropped fruit looking for the larvae, pupae or adults of the weevil.
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