South Florida Pest and Disease Hotline: Pepper Weevil Populations Increasing

Clint ThompsonFlorida

Vegetable farmers in South Florida should be wary that pepper weevil populations are increasing across the region, according to the South Florida Pest and Disease Hotline.

Infestations are increasing overall in Southwest Florida. They have reached moderate levels in older fields, while adults are migrating from mowed fall fields into spring fields that are in production.

Population levels vary along the east coast, depending on location. They range from low to high, though in certain areas, management remains a challenge, says Anna Meszaros, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Palm Beach County Extension agent.

Dak Seal, entomologist at UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center, reported high levels in pepper but low in eggplant fields.

Producers dealing with pepper weevils will notice the most obvious sign of infestation is fruit drop. The fruit stems turn yellow, and the fruit colors prematurely. Thresholds are one adult per 400 terminal buds or 1% of buds infested.

Producers can apply insecticides to the foliage at short intervals once the buds start forming. Insecticides vary in effectiveness, and even amid spray applications, some yield loss can occur.

Source: South Florida Pest and Disease Hotline