Bugs eating Pepper leaves!!

sydskyApril 18, 2007

Hello all. This is my first season growing vegetables. I have tears in the Pepper leaves. From my reading, I think there are Beetles.

I have been spraying a Garlic/Habenero spray once a week. I think it's called Garret Spray. Should I apply this twice a week? Any recommendations are welcome. I am open to non organic solutions, I was gonna get some Sevin powder.

Do I need to cut those torn leaves?

Thanks all.

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Can you post a pic? Holes are bugs, tears can be weather. I wouldn't be too quick to start using broad spectrum pesticides.

Your profile doesn't list your location or zone so it's hard to give specific advise other than to say it is too early for peppers outside in much of the US. Without knowing where you are located I can't know if that applies in your case or not.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 11:47AM
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I am in Dallas, TX. We have had some hard rain storms lately.

Would I need to take those leaves off......can't provide pictures til later.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 12:29PM
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Is shred what you mean? Slugs can make this type of damage as well as irregular holes...you can often see both types. Do you see any evidence of slime trails? Earwigs chew holes also. Both are nocturnal feeders, but on cloudy rainy days you see them too. Flea beetles create pretty small holes in comparison and are daytime feeders. If ain't seeing the pest in the day I'd suspect night feeders.
At this time of the year in my area the common pests would be all the above. Here is what earwigs can do; picture taken from my garden last year:

All I could really do was make a collar out of a milkjug and hope for recovery. These were a little bigger and did recover, but I also lost a few pepper seedlings last May. Personally I've never used pesticides in the garden, and if I were to it would have to be a last resort. Just remember a broad spectrum like Sevin could kill off all the beneficials creating more havoc for you/plants later. Always seek other options like collars, netting, planting a little later when possible (all pests have a certain time of year that they are most active), trap crops, ect.

Best luck and happy gardening!


    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 1:14PM
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no need to take leaves off, they are photosynthesizing organs and function well even when heavily damaged. The only reason to remove leaves is when a fungal pathogen infects them and that doesn't sound like your case at all.

I would, tentatively, attribute the leaf damage to the hard rains and keep and eye on the plants.

My guess is the plants recover and perform just fine. All I can be certain of is the plants will do better with limited photosynthesis than none at all. ;-0

Stay the course. It can be hard to watch, but absent a fungal pathogen spreading from leaf to leaf there is nothing to gain from removing damaged leaves.

I can't guarantee it, but my money is on your plants making a full recovery with no intervention from you and yielding a generous bounty of yummy fruits for you.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 1:46PM
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My damage is a lot bigger. We just had some storms and hail in a couple of days ago. I had some tears that may have come from beetles and the hard rain may have just taken that portion of the leaf off.

Have you heard of the Garlic, Habenero spray (with fish emulsion and apple cider vinegar[for fungus]). I guess it works because the only problem I have is on the peppers.

From your picture, it's definetly not Earwings.

What do you use if anything?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 1:49PM
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I don't use chemicals if that's what your asking.
I just try to collar the seedlings I have learned were the most tasty to earwigs in my yard. The last 2 years I have taken measures to try and reduce or make it not so habitable for them to set up shop. I pick up winter mulch in the areas I've mulched and wait to lay it back down again in June (works for slugs too), I've set up traps in the past couple years also (lengths of hose, rotting fruit in a dish, ect. and have even used lettuce plants to trap them...
Earwigs prefer decaying matter, but will also dine on tender seedlings and small soft bodied pests...especially aphids.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 3:38PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Most likely, the hail did it.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 7:12PM
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Could they be Japanese Beetles? We get them every year for a couple of weeks and then they disappear. They munch a bit, sometimes destroy a plant or two, and move on. My pepper plants usually bounce back just fine, even after being severely munched.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 2:05AM
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That's nice to know andreacalifornia. I hope mine do fine since they are my first babies. I'm gonna do my garlic/habenore spray twice a week for a little while.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 10:11AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Japanese Beetles in California? Anyway, Japanese beetles do not chew large holes, but skeletonize the leaves.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 12:42PM
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    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 5:46PM
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Hi sydsky,

How are your pepper plants doing? Did you ever figure out what the problem was? My pepper plants have the exact same symptoms as seen in your pictures. I live in the Chicago area. Just curious.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 9:01PM
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My peppers are doing well. They are now about 3 feet tall with some nice fat peppers and they are starting to turn to their mature color. Yippee. One of the pepper broke a limb, next year I'll use support. The only problem I am having now is that the peppers are too heavy for the plant. LOL. One of the pepper broke a limb, next year I'll use support.

Lesson learned:

The young peppers can survive a little chomping on.
The problem was beetles.
If you want to find the culprit, go into the garden at night with a flash light.
The habanero/garlic spray doesnÂt effect beetles.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 10:39AM
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Japanese Beetles in California?

"The very first Japanese beetle recorded in California was caught in a trap near Los Angeles International Airport in June of 1951. Two more specimens were trapped near civilian or military airfields in 1954 and 1956. In 1960, nearly 350 living and dead beetles were found in the passenger and cargo compartments of flights originating in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and Pittsburgh. On June 7, 1961 a state entomologist collected a Japanese beetle feeding on flowers on the grounds of the State Capitol.

As it turned out, this beetle was just the tip of the iceberg, representing CaliforniaâÂÂs first Japanese beetle infestation. Intensive inspections and trapping soon produced hundreds of live beetles from the downtown Sacramento area. Using extensive applications of foliage sprays and ground treatments, the Japanese beetle was declared eradicated in 1965, three years after the last live beetle was found. Two subsequent infestations were detected and eradicated in Balboa Park, San Diego and Orangevale, near Sacramento.

If Japanese beetles became established in California it would effect 50% or more of the grapes, roses, peaches, prunes, plums, asparagus, and apricots grown in the United States each year. The potential losses of just 5% in these seven crops alone could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Garden plantings and some street trees would also be affected. Nearly all commercially grown flowers would be susceptible to damage as well. Uninfested regions would quarantine the stateâÂÂs agricultural and horticultural exports, making it difficult, costly, or impossible for California growers to sell their produce.

With all this at stake, state agricultural authorities regularly launched annual Japanese beetle detection programs as a precautionary measure. Every year, between May 1 and August 31, thousands of winged funnel traps resembling green or yellow lanterns are deployed throughout the state on a grid-based arrangement. The traps are fitted with chemical lures promising the beetles both food and sex. The duped insects fall down a funnel and into a container where they wait for the state or county inspector who checks the traps weekly. The traps are concentrated in heavily populated urban areas, especially near airports where hitchhiking beetles are likely to disembark. Both commercial and cargo planes coming from Japanese beetle infested states are regularly inspected during the summer.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Japanese Beetle: CA Dept of Food and Agriculture

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 2:02PM
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From my reading, I think there are Beetles.
I have been spraying a Garlic/Habenero spray once a week.

Your use of "beetles" is very generic. It's like saying I think it's a fish. There are thousands of different types of fish out there.

Take the time to learn that there is not a "cure all" for every pest at every stage of it's life cycle. Some won't work if it's going to rain. Some don't work well if it's too hot, etc.

Pest management is complex, if you wish to use chemical products, do so responsibly which goes further than reading the label. If you want to learn, a good place to start is here:

Integrated Pest Management
This lecture is presented in two parts. Each part is 90-minutes in length. Recorded in Sacramento County in California's Sacramento Valley, this lecture is by Mary Louise Flint, Ph.D., Director, IPM Education and Publications, UC Statewide IPM Project and Extension Entomologist & Cooperative Extension Specialist.

B.S. Plant Science, University of California, Davis
Ph.D. Entomology, University of California, Berkeley

100% Cooperative Extension

Research Interests:
Integrated pest management of landscape, agricultural and garden pests; biological control of arthropod pests; alternatives to pesticides; adoption of alternative practices by practitioners; innovative delivery of pest management information.

Topics discussed in the Integrated Pest Management Lecture:

* IPM references and resources
* Preventing pest problems
* Natural common enemies
* Making less toxic pesticide choices
* Controlling aphids, scales, caterpillars, coddling moths, tree borers, snails and slugs, and lawn insects.

You can watch the programs now online:

Just make sure you have Real Player installed or download it free.

Integrated Pest Management Part1 90 minutes

Integrated Pest Management Part 2 90 minutes

You'll want to bookmark the following link to Professor Flint's Lab Research on:
Controlling Pests in Gardens and Landscapes: Vegetables and Melons

I promise you'll learn one or two things to put in your gardening bag of pest management arsenals.


    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 2:05PM
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Thanks for the information and lecture violet :-)

They were beetles. I joined the party one night at 1 am with a flashlight watching them at the buffet. They were small with a greyish body. I also saw them on my spinach. I started my research and sevin was the common denominator.

I am a novice, and I don't want to get into chemicals without knowing if they will kill me. My pepper plants grew despite the insects, but I have to find something as far as my spinach and lettuce this fall. Hopefully your videos will be helpful.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 2:58PM
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letmepost(6 - Hartford Connecticut)

Darn, I put down a general pesticide recently and now my GP leaves are being chowed!!! UGH! I thought I was doing a good thing. It's a lesson learned.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 9:36PM
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I actually did go out to the garden at night after I wrote you. Sure enough some of the pepper plants had bugs on them and they were chomping away. After some research, I found out that they are earwigs. I've been spaying the plants lightly with Dawn and water at night and it seems to be doing the trick. It's amazing what a few drops of Dawn and some water will do. They don't like it.

Thanks for your response.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 12:44AM
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