In the past two weeks there has been an increase in the number and locations of pepper weevils caught in traps. From the end of June to the first part of August all of the weevils caught were in Woolwich Township, NJ, on both non-farm and farm traps.

The locations where weevils have been caught or found since August 8 now include Woolwich Township, Logan Township, Cherry Hill Township, Vineland, East Vineland, and Cedarville. No weevils have been caught recently in the Hammonton area. This pattern of spread is similar to 2012 when there were no trap captures of weevils in June and July, but suddenly in mid-August seemed to be everywhere.

Infested fields now range from garden-sized pepper plots to full-size commercial fields. The spike in numbers caught at one field, this year, coincides with the arrival of off-farm produce bins. Given the locations of non-farm traps, it’s apparent that we do have multiple introductions of pepper weevil through the growing season.

Concerns about pepper weevil have been negated by too much rainfall and resulting disease problems this year. However, if no preventive action is taken in newly infested fields there will be economic loss even at this time of year. Farmers must figure out the cost of control versus the revenue likely from late season peppers. Although several insecticides will kill adults, weekly rotations of Actara and Vydate seems to perform the best.

For specific numbers and locations where weevils have been caught in the past two weeks, refer to this week’s Vegetable IPM Update.