Last week, a first positive outdoor pepper weevil Anthonomus eugenii (PeW) catch was made of one adult in OMAFRA’s traps in Essex county, just outside the Leamington area. This is part of an ongoing surveillance project for 2021. No established pepper weevil populations have been reported. Monitoring is the first line of defence against this pest, and now is the time for growers to double down on their monitoring efforts.
The most reliable tool used in the early detection of PeW is a pheromone trap, which usually consists of yellow sticky cars and two pheromone lures. The lures contain chemical compounds that work as aggregation pheromones to attract both male and female pepper weevils.
Traps can be placed around the perimeter of a greenhouse, in packing areas, and in the pepper crop. Ten traps per hectare in the greenhouse are recommended. These traps should be checked and changed regularly. PeW pheromone traps will attract several species of weevil, so it is important to identify your weevil catches. A false positive could unnecessarily lead to expensive management decisions.
Scouting for pepper weevil should follow a positive identification. Focus on immature fruit and buds, and also pay attention to mature fruit, foliage, stems, and aborted fruit. Look for oviposition (egg-laying) scars that create a small dimple. Adults produce a circular hole when they emerge and infested areas may also have holes in leaves and flowers. Adults may also be found in flowers and folded leaves, and infested areas may also contain aborted fruit, flowers, and yellowing calyxes.
Infested fruit will harbor weevils which can re-enter the greenhouse or spread to other areas. Do not pile or spread plant material near the greenhouse or adjacent crops.
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