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PEPPER WEEVIL – Fall 2019

While some growers were successful managing pepper weevil this spring, others were not.

PEPPER WEEVIL IS NOT A PEST YOU WANT TO GET BEHIND ON.

Weevils can enter a field and feed on foliage as soon as it is transplanted (or before in the greenhouse), but they cannot reproduce until there are fruiting structures present. Allow the adults to move into the field a feed a little prior to any blooms, but spray yours fields as soon as the first bud is present. This hopefully will knock out most of the weevils before they can get established in your fields. Once an adult has laid an egg, that egg is protected by the plant while it develops through the grub stage, pupates and becomes an adult. Only after the adult leaves the pod can you once again take a shot at controlling it.

Once your crop start setting fruit, you either have to spend a lot of time scouting (roughly 30 minutes per field without finding any weevils) or spray preventively. If weevils are present, you will need to spray on a maximum five day schedule. We have had multiple growers attempt preventive sprays on a weekly schedule, and that has proven inadequate. If you let them get established and try to clean them up, a five day schedule will be too long. Under heavy pressure, I have seen daily spays attempted prior to destroying the fields. Again, you do not want to get behind on pepper weevil.

Dr. David Riley and his graduate student have conducted bioassays with pepper weevils the last few years. Vydate remains the product of choice for pepper weevil. Other products that have shown good efficacy in his trails include Assail, Actara, Belay and Cormoran (which contains Assail). He has shown good activity (but not necessarily direct mortality) with both Torac and Exirel. We are still working to figure out exactly how these products best fit into our management programs.