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Hardiness Zone: 7a
By Kim from Suffolk, VA
Is this a trick question? There is a picture of a tomato worm on the plant. It is being eaten by a tomato worm, just pick it off! Check your plants daily for these worms, you will notice little black pellets (poo) on the leaves below the caterpillar.
I have a bunch of pepper plants and something is eating the leaves of off. I can never find the culprit, I think it happens at night because I never see any bugs or worms on my plants, I have tomato plants right next to the pepper plants and they are untouched. What could be doing this, I was thinking slugs and snails? So I put out a bowl of beer last night and found only two in the bowl this afternoon.
Slugs and snails will leave a "trail" but it is always a good place to start. We grow all kinds of peppers and sometimes it is very difficult to find what bug is causing the damage.
We use 2 things in our garden to try and keep down the bug colonies.
The first is Diatomaceous Earth (food grade only) and this can be sprinkled everywhere - on the plants - on top of the soil and it will kill a lot of different bugs. The problem is that water (rain even) will wash it away from your plants and it may have to be reapplied another day. This has not been a problem as we try to time if for nice weather and after watering (usually late evening). In case you are not familiar with Diatomaceous Earth I have listed a web site that tells all the uses (indoors and outdoors). Diatomaceous Earth (DE) can be bought on-line or Lowe's or most plant or farm stores.
The 2nd thing we use Turmeric and this is very effective against many common garden bugs. We use this in a spray (2 Tbs to a quart of water).
It will take some constant watching and doctoring to remove these pests. I believe you may have flea beetles but I cannot name all the bugs so maybe one of these web sites will be of help. Most pepper plants can be treated in the same manner.
Judy is correct about using Insecticidal soap which I had forgotten because I generally try to use home stuff first. I do have a link that we use to make our own soap but you will need to purchase some Castile soap to make this. (If none of this works you might want to to try Neem oil/spray. None of the mentioned remedies are toxic so they are safe to use on edible plants.)
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Something is eating the leaves off my hot peppers in my garden. What could it be?
Hardiness Zone: 7b
By Denise from north Little Rock, AR
What is eating the leaves of my pepper plants? It seems to happen overnight and the leaves seem to be taken as if with a scalpel. The cuts are clean and not chewed or shredded. The stems are left alone. This has gone on for several years and I can't find the culprit. It is not slugs, deer, or rabbits. Is there any night time winged bug that could do this type of damage? It does not go after my tomatoes, beans, and so far squash. It has left my eggplant alone this year and they are a healthy size right now.
Hardiness Zone: 6a
By aamul47 from Eagleville, PA
Try putting some cut hair, yes, I said hair, human hair around the plants and make an outside ring also about 6-8 inches out with the hair, and see if that helps. Also look under the leaves and see if you have a green caterpillar. I found one on my tomato plants and they are very hard to see. They just strip the leaves and everything else except the stem. (07/10/2009)
The foolproof trick for any pest is one part hot sauce to two parts water, applied every two days and after rain. It seems to literally burn anything that eats it up. Human hair sometimes works, but the sun burns the oil out fast, and re-application makes for a weird garden. Hot pepper spray is nontoxic and doesn't leave any trace behind. (07/13/2009)
Sounds like cut worms. They like tomato plants, too. This year I have some containers with bell peppers on the porch. My husband found 2 giant cut worms on them. They had already cut the tops and leaves off some of my plants. They were green, same as the plant and so hard to see. Cut worms have what looks like two horns on the top of their head. They are easier to find on the plants early in the morning and late in the evening. Pull them off and kill them. If you have a lot of plants, dust with Sevin Dust. It will kill them. I am surprised they have not been after your tomatoes. Once they strip the leaves and tops from a plant they will move to the next. (07/14/2009)