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Do pests favor/avoid certain pepper varieties?


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#1 Takanotsume

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 07:27 AM

I live in Hawaii, which means the weather is always suitable for growing peppers.

 

Unfortunately, this also means the conditions are also always suitable for the pests who love to deface pepper plants who perpetually have large populations ready to spring on any that are left unattended for too long.

 

The ones I've had to deal with so far are (In order of annoyance from least to most):

 

Slugs/snails: Had one shishito seedling get utterly demolished by one of these guys, but that was because I made the mistake of leaving it near a plant they love to hang out by at night. They generally avoid moving across the paved surfaces around the house and haven't so much as attempted to climb any of the pots for the remaining plants.

 

Thrips: They show up in low numbers and are easy enough to squish/flick off my plants.

 

Fungus gnats: I made the mistake of buying some low quality Black Gold Organic potting mix, which aside from doing a rather poor job of growing my peppers (The root systems of all my shishitos are alarmingly puny compared to some significantly smaller nursery-grown pepper plants I purchased and the leaf color on all of the plants is far from the deep green that's commonplace on the plants pictured here), was apparently harboring the eggs of these things, though I've started to deal with them by letting the soil dry better and spraying the surface dirt with neem oil.

 

Whiteflies: There seems to be no end to these guys, but as with the thrips, they show up in numbers low enough that I've been controlling them by simply going out each night and squishing them while they sleep and also removing any eggs in the event they get a chance to lay them. However, I learned the hard way that they are carriers of another far more destructive, yet subtle pest...

 

Leaf miners: As someone with OCD, I utterly loathe the cosmetic damage these things cause with their tunneling larva, and I also realized that the strange, white pinprick dots appearing on my pepper leaves are actually the aftermath of the adults poking holes in the leaves both to feed and to lay eggs. The plants only seemed to be having minor issues at first with just one or two tunnels forming per plant (But subsequently being stopped by crushing the larvae with a good pinch), but a whole mess of dormant eggs seem to have hatched on the oldest plants and  have left once lovely leaves looking quite unsightly, but at least healthy enough to stay alive.

 

Mites: These are the pests I mentioned were being carried by the white flies, and are the only ones that have been seriously hurting my peppers. I'm not sure what species they are, but considering how difficult they are to see (The bulk of them looked like dust particles, with only the exceptionally large ones about the size of a period giving away that they were actually alive), I'm assuming they're broad mites. As is oft the case with them, I didn't realize I had an infestation until my three oldest shishito plants had started to suffer some very noticeable damage in the form of shriveled, deformed leaves, with each new set looking progressively worse until I opted to just top off two of the peppers because of how badly the new leaves had been deformed. I pruned the worst of the leaves to deny them easy hiding places and have put the plants on a regular neem oil treatment plan every four days or so to ensure any new mite hatchlings are eliminated

 

To make things worse, I initially had thought it was the soil or a nutrient deficiency that was causing the symptoms for the first victim and transplanted it into a soiless 5-1-1 mix (From the lousy pre-made mix I was using) which likely stressed it even more. It's still attempting to put out new growth, but all of it is very shriveled and it's hard to say whether it's residual mite damage and/or transplant shock. 

 

 

However, in the light of this incident, I noticed something rather peculiar which is that despite being as old as the shishito plants and actually having some mites skittering about on their containers as a result of being in close proximity, the Aji Limon plants I have seem to be have been left totally untouched by them and are looking far more robust despite identical fertilizer/soil (Though their coloration is quite light compared to the specimens I've seen here). Not one leaf on either of the plants I've currently been growing has come out deformed/shriveled, where as all of the shishitos have had it in varying degrees.

 

Looking about blogs of growers in Hawaii, I saw mention that it's the capsicum annuums (Which shishitos are) that seemed to be targeted the most by pests and the other families were comparatively less of a problem. I'm wondering if others have noticed a trend in mites and other destructive pests seeming to avoid certain varieties, because I'm thinking I'd rather just grow peppers they'll leave alone then have to spray them all the time. Then again, I'd likely have to adopt an aggressive spraying routine regardless once the plants get especially large and start producing as manually squishing the pests is going to become too much of a hassle with so many leaves to check.


Edited by Takanotsume, 20 May 2019 - 07:30 AM.


#2 karoo

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 09:37 AM

Aphids will demolish my Annuums and Chinense and just leave the Baccatums right next to them alone.


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#3 podz

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 01:57 PM

Companion planting and bloodmeal has worked wonders for me.

 

I always keep a light dusting of bloodmeal across the top of my pots, refreshing it after a heavy rain. Rabbits hate the smell of bloodmeal, they won't come anywhere near it.

 

In all pepper pots, I plant a few cloves of garlic and some chives. It keeps away quite a lot of the flying pests.

 

I also keep pots of thyme between my pepper plant pots. Thyme is invasive and thus not suitable for companion planting. Aphids hate thyme.

 

Another excellent weapon is marigolds. I keep pots of marigolds strategically distributed across my gardening area. Marigolds produce a smell that many flying pests hate.

 

Finally, the largest key to aphid control, believe it or not, is ANT control. Spread powdered ant poison across the ground and then spray it down with a water hose. One treatment usually works for the whole summer.



#4 Takanotsume

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 07:22 PM

It's honestly just the mites (And by extension the whiteflies that carry them) that are proving to be a real nuisance.

 

They also quickly went to work on a vague species of sweet long pepper I picked up from the nursery, though I had already quarantined it in the corner of the yard after noticing that it has bacterial leaf spot (Presumably due to the near constant overhead misting the plants were getting). Aside from a few browned edges and holes, the plant looked rather healthy and is producing buds galore, though I'm not sure any of them will bloom properly with the mites having gotten to them already.

 

I ordered a bunch of long-lasting PVC sticky traps so hopefully they'll keep away the leaf miners and white flies so I don't have to worry about the annuums as much, but if that fails to prevent another infestation, I might just resort to getting a greenhouse or indoor growing to keep the bugs away entirely.

 

 


Edited by Takanotsume, 20 May 2019 - 07:25 PM.


#5 Powelly

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 08:33 PM

They definitely like larger leaves

 

I find that a few inches of pine bark over the top of the soil is the best thing though. Provides habitat for all the predator species such as spiders and centipedes


Get the compost/EWC dialled in and you won't have many questions that need an answer.


#6 podz

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 02:42 AM

They definitely like larger leaves

 

I find that a few inches of pine bark over the top of the soil is the best thing though. Provides habitat for all the predator species such as spiders and centipedes

 

 

Yes, and tomato cages are awesome as well for growing peppers - provides framing for spiders to attach webs. I love the sight of spider webs on my tomato caging in the morning.



#7 Takanotsume

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 04:47 AM

There are lamentably are no spiders in my neighborhood as it's positively overrun by invasive brown anole lizards who are known to feed on them and pretty much everything else they notice and can get their teeth into.

 

I assume this is actually part of why pests are as problematic as they are as the numerous hatchlings who'd be most interested in the aphids and whiteflies prefer to spend their time hiding in the grass and low-lying shrubs until they've grown big and bold enough to start encroaching on the territory of the adult anoles, which makes their actual effectiveness at controlling pests very limited as they've generally lost interest in small insects by that point.

 

I actually tried introducing some garden spiders into the yard in hopes that they'd catch the flying pests, but it seems as though they've already become snacks for the anoles as they suddenly vanished after having had webs established for a few days.



#8 Powelly

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 09:49 PM

Most garden spiders don't have webs bro

Give them a few inches of pine bark. The lizards won't be able to get in there and the spiders only come out at night anyway. Not having spiders is ecological collapse territory, so have faith that they are there


Get the compost/EWC dialled in and you won't have many questions that need an answer.


#9 Ruid

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 01:21 AM

Does Hawaii have ladybugs?

#10 bob65

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 04:09 AM

Broad mites you need a magnifier ro see.

Leaves will curl up and growth will be stunted. This damage will not repair itself and will spread.

Best way to deal with it is to cut off the affected growth (sounds drastic, but necessary) and to spray regularly with lime sulphur to prevent any return.

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#11 Takanotsume

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 06:50 AM

Most garden spiders don't have webs bro

Give them a few inches of pine bark. The lizards won't be able to get in there and the spiders only come out at night anyway. Not having spiders is ecological collapse territory, so have faith that they are there

 

There are a couple tiny nocturnal webweavers who come out at night, but I assumed they wouldn't care about the whiteflies. While there are jumping spiders in some areas, I've yet to see one in Kailua ever since the brown anoles moved in.

 

The garden spiders (Argiope appensa, to be specific) I introduced are active all day long, though they tend to prefer making their webs at night and will remain in them during the day instead of tearing them down as some other species do. Perhaps I'll stick some on the actual pepper plants once they get big enough to comfortably accommodate one, because these ones are pretty huge by web-weaver standards.

 

Does Hawaii have ladybugs?

 

It does, but they're fairly rare for the most part.

 

There are some plants that are known to attract them in the yard, but I've yet to actually see one, though I doubt the lizards have anything to do with it considering how nasty they taste.

 

Broad mites you need a magnifier ro see.

Leaves will curl up and growth will be stunted. This damage will not repair itself and will spread.

Best way to deal with it is to cut off the affected growth (sounds drastic, but necessary) and to spray regularly with lime sulphur to prevent any return.

Sent from my SM-A530F using Tapatalk

 

I've been removing any leaves that were exceptionally deformed and only providing a convenient hiding place for the broad mites. Been using neem oil as my pesticide, though I made the mistake of thinking that simply applying it at night would prevent burning, since the shishitos that were in direct sunlight following the treatment ended getting burns despite being dry (Though not badly enough to kill the leaves). Thinking it might be better to wash the oil off before I expose the plants to direct sun again for now on.

 

The plant that got the worst of it has since started putting out a lot of new but deformed growth, so I'm wondering if I should just remove that as well. I've been checking it for mites and they don't seem to have returned after the recent treatments, so I'm assuming it's residual damage from them attacking the growth as it had just begun to form.

 

It's actually gotten greener ever since I put it in the soiless mix, so I'm hoping it'll recover and bounce back better then before.

 

Aside from having some of its older leaves defaced by leaf miners, the oldest Aji Limon plant I have is looking more impressive by the day. I'm thinking It'll probably need to be upsized from its two gallon pot sooner then later at the rate it's been going. Still confused by why they seem to love the Black Gold potting soil that's only been getting mediocre results from the shishitos.


Edited by Takanotsume, 22 May 2019 - 07:04 AM.


#12 Chorizo857_62J

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 12:09 PM

I have found a tomato horn worm eating a Red Bhut, both leaves AND the pepper.  That's scary.






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