Peppers

Check for the Following Pests or their Damage: Seedling Through Bloom

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Names link to more information on biology and management. Click on photos to enlarge.
Insects monitored with sticky traps
Green peach aphid winged adult.

Green peach aphid adult (winged form).

Identification tip:

The winged form has a distinct dark patch near the tip of the abdomen; wingless forms lack this dark patch. Sticky traps give an indication of movement into a field.

Adult western flower thrips.

Thrips adult.

Identification tip:

The adult is tiny (less than 1/16 inch), pale yellow to light brown, and has two pairs of wings fringed with long hairs. Yellow sticky traps used to monitor for aphids, psyllids, and whiteflies can also be used to monitor for thrips.

Adult potato psyllid.

Tomato (potato) psyllid adult.

Identification tip:

The adult is about 1/8 inch long and resembles a cicada. It has clear wings, white or yellowish markings on the thorax, and lines on the abdomen. Place sticky traps at field margins near tops of plants as an indicator of psyllid movement.

Silverleaf whitefly adult.

Whitefly adult.

Identification tip:

Tiny (roughly 1/16 inch long), yellowish insects with white wings. Sticky traps may be useful in detecting initial migrations into the field.

   
Arthropods or their damage
Bean seedlings chewed off by cutworms.

Cutworm damage.

Identification tip:

Larval feeding can cut off seedling leaves (right).

Young beet armyworms skeletonize leaves.

Beet armyworm damage.

Identification tip:

Young beet armyworms skeletonize leaves and produce webbing and frass. Older larvae chew holes in foliage and fruit.

Pepper leaves distorted, pointed downward, and curled caused by broad mite feeding.

Broad mite damage.

Identification tip:

Feeding causes leaf elongation, a wrinkled surface and downward curling. Inspect such leaves with a hand lens to look for the mite.

Adult flea beetles.

Flea beetle damage.

Identification tip:

Adult flea beetles feed on the undersides of leaves creating small pits or irregularly shaped holes.

Green peach aphids.

Green peach aphid damage.

Identification tip:

Generally pale green although some individuals are pinkish. There are both winged and wingless forms.

Chewing damage to pepper stem at soil line caused by darkling ground beetle feeding.

Ground beetle damage.

Identification tip:

Ground beetle feeding eventually girdles the stem causing the plant to collapse and die.

Leafminer, Liriomyza sp., feeding in pepper leaves can lead to extensive mining and blotching.

Leafminer damage.

Identification tip:

Larvae mine between upper and lower leaf surfaces, creating winding, whitish tunnels that widen as the larva grows. Eventually this leads to necrosis.

Omnivorous leafroller damage.

Omnivorous leafroller damage.

Identification tip:

Larvae fold leaves and feed inside.  Look for chewed holes and webbing.

Adult pepper weevil and feeding damage to core.

Pepper weevil

Identification tip: The adult weevil is about 1/8 inch long and dark bodied with a brassy luster. Pepper weevil is found in Southern California. Start monitoring after planting. Pepper weevil becomes more of a concern starting at bloom.

Larva (top), prepupa (left), and pupae (center) of seedcorn maggot.

Seedcorn maggots.

Identification tip:

Where slow, spotty emergence is observed, dig up the seed and inspect for larvae. They are about 1/4 inch, whitish, cylindrical and taper toward the end (rare in older plants).

Thrips feeding can cause pepper leaves to curl and crinkle.

Thrips damage.

Identification tip:

Thrips feeding distorts foliage and can cause leaves to curl and pucker.

Color variations of tomato fruitworm.

Tomato fruitworm.

Identification tip:

Newly hatched larvae have black heads and are creamy white with black spots and hairs. More mature larvae (shown here) range from yellowish green to nearly black, have fine white lines along the body and retain the black spots with hairs.

White powdery honeydew on pepper leaves caused by tomato (potato) psyllid feeding.

Tomato (potato) psyllid damage.

Identification tip:

As psyllids feed on leaves, they deposit honeydew in the form of sugar crystals.

Leaf mottling and webbing from heavy infestation of spider mites.

Twospotted spider mite damage.

Identification tip:

Feeding can cause leaves to yellow and eventually die. Twospotted spider mites produce webbing on plants where they feed.

Stunting in the dry bean seedling on the right was caused by a wireworm.

Wireworm larva damage.

Identification tip:

Wireworm feeding stunts a seedling, eventually killing it. Young plants are most susceptible (rare in older plants).

Damaged leaf showing frost, or feces, of whiteflies.

Whitefly damage.

Identification tip:

Feeding on leaves produces honeydew and "frost" on surface.

Identification of silverleaf whitefly is important. Other whitefly species do not cause economic damage in pepper.

Western yellowstriped armyworm larva.

Yellowstriped armyworm damage.

Identification tip:

Armyworms chew holes in leaves. They are usually black with one prominent stripe over many narrow bright ones on each side of their body.

 
Disease or nematode symptoms
Pepper leaves showing a yellow mosaic caused by Alfalfa mosaic virus.

Alfalfa mosaic virus symptoms.

Identification tip:

Leaves of infected plants have distinct yellow or whitish mosaic patterns.

Pale, watersoaked leaf tissue surrounding brown lesions on pepper leaves caused by Xanthomonas campestris p.v. vesicatoria.

Bacterial spot symptoms .

Identification tip:

Spots are about 1/4 inch in diameter, initially water soaked, and later turn brown.

Foliage damaged by gray mold..

Botrytis gray mold.

Identification tip:

Appears as gray-brown velvety covering on leaves or stems. Symptoms sometimes appear at the seedling stage, but are more likely at later stages.

Mature pepper leaves infected with Cucumovirus mosaic disease showing necrotic areas in an oak leaf pattern.

Cucumovirus mosaic diseases.

Identification tip:

Generally, plants show an overall lighter color with mosaic patterns, stunting, leaf curling, and oak leaf patterns (shown here).

The internodes of pepper plants infected with Beet curly top.

Curly top symptoms.

Identification tip:

Internodes of infected plants shorten, resulting in extremely stunted plants. The upper portion resembles a rosette or small flower bouquet. Leaves turn yellow or light green and may roll upward.

Root and crown rot disease caused by Pythium sp. results in stunted and dying pepper plants.

Damping-off disease symptoms.

Identification tip:

Stunted or collapsed plants in the field can be a sign of an infection with Pythium spp.

Photo not available

Impatiens necrotic spot symptoms.

Identification tip:

Overall yellowing, dead spots, and general stunting; similar to tomato spotted wilt virus symptoms.

Mottling of tomato leaves due to tobacco mosaic virus.

Pepper tobamovirus diseases.

Identification tip:

Although symptoms vary among cultivars and virus or strains they generally include necrosis on any plant part, defoliation, leaf distortion, and/or mosaic symptoms on leaves, stems, and eventually fruit.

Pepper plants infected with Potato Y potyvirus.

Potyvirus mosaic diseases.

Identification tip:

Mosaic patterns are found on at least some leaves, especially younger ones. Plants are often stunted and have curled leaves. Symptoms may be similar to those caused by Cucumovirus mosaic disease.

Underside of pepper leaf showing growth of the powdery mildew fungus.

Powdery mildew.

Identification tip:

A patchy, white, powdery growth  enlarges on the lower leaf surface and at times on the upper surface.

Stem lesions characteristic of Phytophthora root and crown rot start as water-soaked dark green areas that dry and turn brown.

Root and crown rot symptoms.

Identification tip:

Stem lesions start as dark green, water-soaked areas that dry and turn brown. Lesions can girdle the stem resulting in wilting of the plant.

Crop damaged by root-knot nematodes.

Root knot nematode symptoms.

Identification tip:

Check roots of chlorotic, stunted, or wilted plants for galling to verify a root knot nematode infection.

Pepper leaves with curling, crinkling, and pale green to yellow discoloration infected with Tomato spotted wilt virus.

Tomato spotted wilt virus symptoms.

Identification tip:

Initial symptoms include leaf curling, pale green to yellow discoloration, and necrosis.

Brown and wilted leaves on red bell pepper characteristic of a Verticillium dahliae infection.

Verticillium wilt symptoms.

Identification tip:

Symptoms include yellowing and drooping of leaves on a few branches or on the entire plant. Brown discoloration is visible when the roots and lower stem of a wilted plant are cut open. Symptoms are unlikely to be seen in seedlings.

Fluffy white fungal growth and tiny black sclerotia on a pepper stem.

White mold (Sclerotinia spp.).

Identification tip:

Infected stems eventually become a bleached gray-white and fungal tissue and sclerotia grow on or in the stem. Symptoms can appear at the seedling stage, but are more likely at later stages.

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