In an April 4, 2016 email message from Gene McAvoy, Extension Director, Hendry County, Florida, he says that Florida pepper crops have above normal pepper weevil infestations this spring. Strong market prices are enticing farmers to hold on to their pepper plantings longer than usual allowing weevil populations to increase.
What this may mean for New Jersey’s 2016 pepper production isn’t clear, but processors importing pepper fruit from Florida to New Jersey may increase the odds of pepper weevil infestations here.
After completing our two year study on the origin and spread of pepper weevils in New Jersey, we recommend that peppers or any solanaceous crop should not be planted within 1 ½ miles of a food processing facility, if it can be avoided. Solanaceous crops planted closer to these facilities act as ‘stepping stones’ for the spread of pepper weevil to more distant fields.
The Vegetable IPM Program will again monitor selected sites for pepper weevil this year and farmers wanting to have their fields monitored can contact me at email@example.com, or 848-932-9802.