Pepper can give many recipes a little kick and make them taste so much better. You can get them from the marketplace or the grocery store and they are not that expensive, but it would also be great if you could plant your own pepper plant. This way, if ever you get the sudden urge to cook something that requires some pepper, you can just go out to your garden and harvest some.
The problem, however, is that pepper plants are just like any other plant–you may encounter some issues while growing them, such as lack of nutrients, lack of water, and attack of pests.
What is Eating My Pepper Plants at Night
1. Tomato horn-worms
Even though the name of this pest has the word “tomato” in it, unfortunately, it can attack your pepper plants, as well!
Tomato hornworms look like big, fat caterpillars, and if your eyes aren’t that good at noticing minute details, then you might mistake this creature for a leaf, because their green skin makes them look exactly like one. These organisms are so large that you can simply pluck them away from your beloved pepper plant.
If you are growing your pepper plants in a greenhouse, you are most likely going to find this pest. It is brown in color and it has appendages at the back end. They are nocturnal, which means that they are highly active at night so it is highly possible that these could be the ones responsible for the damage that your pepper plants get throughout the evenings.
The main target of earwigs is the fruit itself. They make holes in the calyx–which you can see if you slice the fruit open–and this can make the fruit unviable for selling or human consumption.
Cutworms earned such name because basically, what they do is they attack the stems of plants at such intensity that they are eventually cut off. They are quite fat, soft, and they are either gray or brown in color.
Cutworms tend to curl their bodies around the stem of their target plant and feed on it. However, variegated ones can also move up the stems of plants and feed on leaves, buds, and fruits.
Cutworms are most active during the summer. They are quite hard to find in your garden during the day because they hide during this time and they only feed during the evenings.
Young plants are more susceptible to this pest because their structure is not yet as strong as those of mature plants.
Other Pests That May Be Attacking Your Pepper Plant
1. European corn borer
This pest is not a worm–it’s big brown moth that lays its eggs on the underside of pepper plant leaves. These moths make holes in just about any part of the plant, but they seem to particularly love the leaves and the fruits in particular.
To protect your pepper plants from this pest, apply insecticides just when fruiting begins up until the final harvest.
2. Pepper weevils
Pepper weevils love pepper plants, particularly those that are grown in Arizona, California, Florida, New Mexico, and Texas. It’s an oval black beetle with a long proboscis and it loves all sorts of pepper plants. The generation time for this pest is faster when the weather is hot.
These pests attack leaves and flowers, but they may also make holes in fruits and feed on the seeds. The holes can pave the way for the entry of pathogenic agents into the fruit, thus, damages incurred by this pest greatly leads to massive losses.
Once you notice symptoms of fruit drop in your pepper plant, this means that the weevil infestation has gone really bad.
If you see this in your garden, you must get rid of it right away, because mature weevils can fly and damage plants in nearby fields as well.
How to Remove Pests from Pepper Plant
1. Choose the right variety of pepper plant.
Don’t most people say, “Prevention is better than cure?”
Applying pesticides on pepper plants in an attempt to make pests go away can be considered a treatment, and you can reduce the amount of money you spend to eliminate pests by planting disease-resistant pepper plant varieties.
This way, you will grow healthier plants and you will also be able to keep insects that are attracted to sick plants away.
2. Buy pesticides.
If you want something strong, go for chemical pesticides. Often, chemical pesticides contain carbaryl, but while this is effective, it may also be harmful for humans and pets. As much as possible, the utilization of chemical pesticides must be your last resort, when you find that safer alternatives do not seem to work.
You may also want to consider bacterium pesticides. These contain bacteria, but they are not harmful for humans and pets. This type of pesticide is particularly ideal for pepper plants since these target pests that commonly attack pepper plants such as hornworms. Make sure to follow the application instructions when using bacterium pesticides.
If you want something that is a bit less stronger than chemical pesticides, make your own soap pesticide at home. Just mix a tablespoon of liquid soap that has no dye, bleach or fragrance, with a quart of water. Then, if you’re ready to apply, just spray it onto your infested plant.
Soap pesticides are safer, and they are not toxic to humans, mammals, or beneficial insects.
3. Make your own organic pesticide.
If you want something safer not just for your plants but also for yourself, go for organic pesticides. These are cheaper (they are mostly made out of ingredients that you surely can find in your own home) and they’re also easy to make. Still, they are just as effective as pesticides you can buy from stores.
4. Just use water.
This is probably the easiest pest control method to protect your pepper plants. Just grab your garden hose and have water flowing through at high pressure and spray a strong blast of water all over infested plants. This will put pests off your plants.
Ideally, do this process at night.
Pepper plants are just like any other plant–they can also become the victim of many pests. Pests that attack pepper plants include hornworks, earwigs, corn borers, cutworms, and weevils. These pests cause damage and may hinder proper plant growth and eventually, this issue may also reduce yield.
Thus, it is important to find a remedy for this problem as early as you find out about it.
Purchase pesticides that are suitable for your pepper plant or better yet, make your own organic pesticide using natural ingredients.
The sooner you free your pepper plants from harmful pests, the higher the chance of survival your plant will have.