Top 10 Most Common Pepper Pests and Diseases

When Peter Piper planted his peppers, he may have plotted a plan against pests and pestilence in one of these ways.

Photography by Rob Cardillo


Learn how to fight off common pepper pests and diseases1. Blister beetles
This striped beetle is both friend and foe; adults feed on pepper plants and other vegetables, but their larvae eat grasshopper eggs. Knock adults from plants into soapy water, but wear gloves because contact with crushed beetles blisters skin.

2. Cutworms
The nocturnal cutworm caterpillar attacks plants by curling around seedling stems and eating through them. Use cutworm collars and apply beneficial nematodes to the soil.

3. Tomato hornworms
The bright green larvae of this moth species chew large holes in leaves and may completely strip young plants. Handpick caterpillars and then drop them into soapy water.

4. Pepper weevils
These ¼-inch-long, dark gray insects lay eggs in pepper buds or fruits. The larvae leave dark cavities in the spongy inner tissues of pepper fruits. Invite natural predators such as birds and wasps to dine on these pests.

5. Root-knot nematodes
Microscopic soil-dwelling worms cause plants to wilt and lack vigor. To eradicate nematodes, grow a cover crop of marigolds or rye in infested areas and turn.