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Hot Pepper IPM notes
Hot pepper is a major non-traditional export crop in Jamaica. It is also a major spice for local consumers, processors, restaurants and others in the food industry. The crop is grown mainly in the hilly areas of the island, chiefly in Westmoreland, St. Mary and Manchester.
The crop is affected by several pests which cause different levels of damage. If they are not properly managed, the farmer can suffer severe losses. This leaflet seeks to help farmers know the pest problem and how to treat it.
The major pests affecting hot peppers are:
Of the main types grown, Scotch Bonnet is preferred for the fresh food trade and the red types for processing
These are very tiny, tick-like animals that bore the plant surface and feed on the juices. The plant cells then dry out.
Broad mites cause more problems when:
Bronzing of small round fruit
Shoot tip bronzing
Viruses are germs which infect plants and cause poor growth. Infected plants show leaf curling, leaf crinkle, leaf twisting, green and yellowish mottling, poor bearing, small or ill-shaped fruits, stunting.
The main hot pepper viruses in Jamaica are Tobacco Etch Virus (TEV), Potato Virus Y (PVY) and Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV). These are spread by aphids. Insecticides will not keep viruses out of a field but can help to reduce spread afterwards.
Viruses cause more problems when:
Fruit worms are caterpillars which bore into the fruit to feed. Affected fruits have holes and may rot or fall from the plant. They are useless for sale.
They cause more problems when:
Follow the pesticide label.
These are very small, yellow, green, red or black, egg-shaped insects that suck sap from plants. Mostly at backs of leaves or shoot tips. Some types carry viruses and infect plants when they feed. They leave a clear, sugary liquid honey dew on the plant; a black fungus, sooty mould grows on this. Ants also feed on honey dew and protect aphids. Aphids breed rapidly when too much nitrogen fertilizer is used.
Many other helpful insects (Natural enemies) attack and kill aphids
Tiny wasp attacking fruit worm egg
This is a pest of importance to the US. The tiny adult flies lay eggs in flowers/fruit stalk of hot peppers. Yellow/orange maggots hatch and feed inside . Affected fruits may show a black blotch on stalks.
Gall midge maggot
Maggots jump from fruits and go into the soil. Later they change to tiny flies, come out and repeat the cycle