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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #228419

Title: Demonstrating Integrated Pest Management of Hot Peppers

item Legaspi, Jesusa - Susie

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2008
Publication Date: 8/12/2008
Citation: Legaspi, J.C., Gardner, C., Queeley, G., Leppla, N., Cuda, J. 2008. Demonstrating Integrated Pest Management of Hot Peppers. Meeting Abstract.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: We studied the effects of organic and synthetic chemical fertilizers on crop growth, yield and associated insect pests for two varieties of hot pepper, Capsicum chinense Jacquin (Solanaceae): “Scotch Bonnet” and “Caribbean Red” in north Florida. Hot peppers were grown under three treatments: poultry manure; mushroom compost; or “Growers’ Practice”, (conventional pesticides and chemical fertilizers), with equivalent amounts of soil nutrients applied to all treatments. The Growers’ Practice treatment permitted use of conventional insecticides if insect pests exceeded economic thresholds. Plant height and canopy diameter were significantly greater in the mushroom compost treatment for Scotch Bonnet; however, yields were not significantly affected by treatment or variety. The Growers’ practice treatment resulted in lowest plant height in Caribbean Red. The dominant insect pests found were the silverleaf whitefly, Bemisia argentifolii Bellows and Perring (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae); green peach aphid, Myzus persicae (Sulzer) (Hemiptera: Aphidae); bandedwinged whitefly, Trialeurodes abutilonea (Haldeman) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae); and western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande) (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Significantly more insect pests were found on Caribbean Red than on Scotch Bonnet, but in none of the treatments did pests reach economic injury levels. Results indicate that hot peppers may be grown without using insecticides in Florida because insect pests did not reach levels high enough to affect yield. Furthermore, the crops may be grown using relatively inexpensive organic fertilizers because the use of synthetic chemical fertilizers does not result in higher yields. We found that organic methods can be profitable for growers in Florida provided pests remain below economic threshold levels.