Pepper weevil, Anthonomus eugenii

Pepper weevils attack plants in the family Solanaceae, including pepper, tomato and potato. It occurs in Central America, the Caribbean and the Southern United States and has spread to Europe. Infestation can result in heavy crop losses in pepper crops. An adult female will lay five to seven eggs per day, totalling 341 on average. Larvae emerge after three to five days and bore into buds and fruit, then pupate within the fruit or blossom. Total development lasts 20-30 days. Adults survive for several months, and are able to fly long distances to find hosts. In optimal conditions pepper weevils have up to eight generations per year. Adults should be monitored using yellow pepper weevil Impact traps with pheromones lures in order to time treatments as part of an effective integrated pest management programme.
Pepper Weevil
Biology

Adult pepper weevils are oval-shaped blackish beetles, reaching 2.0 to 3.5mm in length. There may be greyish or yellowish markings. The body is highly curved, with a snout half of the body’s length. Their antennae expand at the tip.

Eggs are yellowish and oval-shaped with a 0.39mm width. They are deposited singly by females into a bore in the surface of buds or pods, and are surrounded by a hard dark substance.

 Larvae are white or grey with a yellowish-brown head, and are legless. They are roughly 1mm long when new and can reach up to 5mm in length the third (and final) instar.

Pupae are white when new, but turn yellowish-white and gain brown eyes.

Nature of Damage

The most common signs of pepper weevil infestations are early colour change of and dropping of pods (young fruit). Fruit attacked by adults may appear deformed and have small brown entry marks. Larvae inside fruit will leave clean, round exit holes after maturing, and the core of the fruit will be brown and possibly mouldy.

Life cycle and Behaviour

Females lay five to seven eggs per day, totalling an average 341 over their lifetime. Eggs are usually only laid on hosts in the Solanum or Capsicum families, notably tomatoes, peppers and potatoes. Larvae emerge after 3 to 5 days and bore into buds and pods. One larvae occupies each bud, but several can survive in developed fruit. After approximately 13 days, larvae pupate within the fruit or blossom for around 5 days. Total development lasts 20-30 days. Adults survive for several months, and are able to fly large distances to find hosts. Migrations north are common, but pepper weevils cannot survive unless fruits are grown year-round. They can feed on weeds such as nightshades, puncturing into fruit, buds and blossom. When no fruits are available, adults may feed on leaves and stems. Adult weevils are most commonly seen in the spring and summer months. In optimal conditions pepper weevils can have up to 8 generations per year. More commonly the range is 4 to 6.

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