Monday, August 17, 2015

Pepper Blooms and Small Fruit Dropping

Flower and fruit drop of bell peppers is caused by the pepper weevil. Both the mature black weevils and the small white worms (the weevil larvae), can often be seen when the fallen fruit is cut open.  Holes are made in the young pepper and in flower buds either by the feeding of adult weevils, females laying eggs or by emerging adults.  Infested peppers that do not fall and rot but go on to maturity, will have blackened seeds and cores as a result of larval feeding. Mature peppers are not susceptible to weevil attack, because the skin is usually too hard.

Sanitation is very important in controlling this pest. Remove all peppers that have dropped to the ground. For the next planting, rotate to another non-solanaceous  crop, do not plant tomatoes or eggplant; control solanaceaous weeds. If weevils increase and cause major damage to the crop, there are registered pesticides available such as carbaryl (sevin). Pyrethrin may be acceptable for use on organically certified produce.

Photos: University of Arkansas 
             University of Florida