Seeing holes in your pepper’s pepper plant foliage is quite normal, but it always begs you to ask the question, what is eating holes in my pepper plant leaves? These are the most common garden pests that prey on young plants, from the smallest seedlings to its largest fruit: aphids and caterpillars. Aphids are especially destructive, tearing up entire stems to expose the stems to pollinating flies. This is a major problem in hot areas where plants typically bloom during warm, wet seasons, or where they can be a significant problem to the environment. If you have an aphid infestation in your garden, you may want to consider prevention before treatment.
Many gardeners focus on eliminating aphid problems before they become serious. But there are also other pests that attack peppers and cause similar problems. Mites and scale insects are the most common garden pest that attack young plants. They live off of the sap from the leaves. Mites – with a breath that must frequently be renewed – can eat through and destroy even the thickest leaves on peppers.
Slugs and snails, on the other hand, prefer softer plants like peas, carrots, and corn. Their favorite snacks are stem-on-string mites, which lie about waiting for the tiny plant leaves to be open just right before they grasp it and inject their digestive juices. The result is plant wounds, which these pests often cause. To prevent these types of pests, plant leaves should be washed thoroughly with soap and water at least once a week. Cutworms and field worms can also cause damage to your garden, so they should also be removed promptly.
In addition to plant pests, weeds can also wreak havoc on your garden. Low growing grasshoppers, for example, love sugar, and the resulting root damage can make your plants unhealthy. Cutting away grasshoppers, and making sure that your lawn has enough grass for the grasshoppers to feed on will discourage them from bothering your plants in the future. If you don’t have low growing grasshoppers, you can spray your lawn with a weed killer at least once a month. This will discourage the weed population, as well as killing any remaining grasshoppers on your lawn.
And let’s not forget the most common garden pest: fleas. Flea beetles infest not only pepper plant leaves but also many other types of plants. They are usually attracted to a light source, so you can apply a pesticide to the outside of your home as well as your plantings. Look for products containing permethrin, which are effective against adult fleas, as well as nits and ticks. Applying these chemicals to the young plants will discourage fleas from coming near your young plants as they develop.
The final garden pest to discuss are the cutworms. Adult cutworms often infest newly transplanted cuttings, so you will want to keep your cutworm population in control before you try to fertilize. The best way to prevent a cutworm problem in the first place is to ensure that your cuttings are clean and dry before you begin planting. Place your cuttings in a shallow container with moist soil, cover with some newspaper, and make sure they get as much sun as possible. Cut off the top of the container for an even supply of moisture.
Aphids, on the other hand, love moisture. They particularly like the underside of leaves where there is lots of moisture. To keep aphids at bay, you should dig up your plants regularly to remove existing aphids and use a commercial non-toxic insecticide to control new ones. Some effective and easy to find aphidicides include pyrethrum and manganese sulfate. Both of these have been proven to be effective against the adult and larvae of the flea beetles.
There you have it. Three very popular garden pests that you will probably come across at some point during your gardening career. You can either address the problem right away, or wait for it to get worse, then treat your plants with a commercial product. You might also want to take a closer look at the rest of this article to learn more about gardening and how you can help prevent these insects from ruining your plants.