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Vegetable Gardening: What's eating my peppers?

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Cybrczch

Cybrczch
Lincoln, NE
(Zone 5b)

September 7, 2013
4:26 PM

Post #9653570

Group input needed.
For the past month, ever since the peppers started to ripen, I've had something eating them. While they have gotten to a few green peppers, I've had most of them hit just as they start turning color. I lost almost all of my yellow bells, half of my red bells, and now I'm losing my Carmen peppers. I have to go out daily to check and pick any that start to show a little color. Most have a big hole right near the top, some have almost been girdled around. Seeds are missing now on the Carmens, but earlier the bells still had seeds left when the shoulders were eaten.

Also getting some of my tomatoes eaten as they ripen too. But plenty of those that I can give away a few.

Thoughts here are:
Squirrels - it's dry again this year, but usually when they attack the tomatoes in a dry year they pick them off and take a few bites then toss them over the fence, not eat them on the vine.
Raccoons or opossums - have both in town, have seen raccoons crawling into the storm sewers and opossums on the powerlines this year (had some in my garage a couple years ago).
Grasshoppers - not likely, they don't tend to make one big bite, and we're just seeing them around while the damage started a month ago.

Ive done the following, but hasn't seemed to help:
The pepper patch is fenced with chicken wire (rabbits were horrible this year, and they were eating my jalapeno plants!), and I've also put bird netting around and over to try to dissuade anything to attack the platns, along with a container of water by the patch if they are thirsty (also a pond), and a little stinky animal repellent around (but it didn't help with the rabbits).

Any ideas folks?

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AdamAgain
SW, AR
(Zone 8a)

September 12, 2013
3:04 AM

Post #9657699

Worms? Look for droppings.

Mice?

Rats?

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

September 12, 2013
6:53 AM

Post #9657787

I vote for mice or rats...

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

September 12, 2013
9:17 AM

Post #9657884

Try setting some mouse or rat traps. If you catch one or the other, you'll have your answer.

I don't think it could be squirrels, because we have an over abundance of them here, and I've never experienced the problem you have.

Cybrczch

Cybrczch
Lincoln, NE
(Zone 5b)

September 16, 2013
2:58 PM

Post #9661728

Honeybee, your squirrels probably have plenty of nuts etc to eat so they don't scavenge like the ones here do. Lot of squirrels but few nut trees in my area. After the maple seed season, they'll go after anything they can, and they love RED things - tomatoes, asian lily buds, the only apple from my dwarf potted apple tree, I've seen them chowing down on almost anything they can get their paws on. Don't even think about setting out jack-o-lanterns any time before Halloween, they start from the eyes and gnaw their way around. One year they broke into my garage and demolished half the two dozen sunflower heads I had sitting in there in one night. Still, like them better than the opossums, ewwwww...

Mice, maybe. Rats, doubtful (12 years and haven't seen evidence of rats yet). No signs of droppings around the peppers.

A hawk was nice enough to drop a rabbit's foot into my compost bin. One down, many more to go...
SusanKC
Shawnee Mission, KS
(Zone 6a)

September 19, 2013
3:39 AM

Post #9663737

Does not look like a bird. More like something with teeth. Any woodchucks around? They like tomatoes really well and will go after peppers if nothing else is available.

kittriana

kittriana
Magnolia, TX
(Zone 8b)

September 19, 2013
6:44 AM

Post #9663889

My vote coon
grits74571
Talihina, OK

October 26, 2013
8:28 AM

Post #9695169

Since everyone has made a guess my guess is Slugs based on what is eating mine especially on the Yellows

Cybrczch

Cybrczch
Lincoln, NE
(Zone 5b)

October 29, 2013
9:14 AM

Post #9697540

Grits - DING DING DING WE HAVE A WINNER!
Sorry for not getting back sooner, but found a few peppers with the slugs still munching. Don't have to worry about it any more this season since we had killing frost 2 Saturdays ago.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

October 29, 2013
10:04 AM

Post #9697561

Cybrczch,
Thanks for the followup. It helps us with another tool in our arsenal. I'm going to remember that the edges are eaten off cleanly on those veggies, and think SNAIL next time, LOL!

Pillbugs also eat the edges off cleanly.
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

November 9, 2013
10:28 PM

Post #9705741

This is the first year that I have really seen the damage that snail/slugs can do. I've been in TX 20 yrs and have always had fire ants so no snails. The fire ant population has declined but the snails have gone crazy. There are jillions of them and what they eat looks like it has tooth marks on it. I've learned a lot from this thread! Thanks

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