Do Pepper Weevil Overwinter in South Georgia? Dr. Sparks answers the question.
The answer to this has always assumed to be no, but that has apparently changed. Will they survive long enough to infest the spring plantings at an economical level remains to be seen, but I would not bet against them at this point.
In the past two months we have surveyed some fields old pepper fields and continue to find live pepper weevil adults. We started by collecting old pods (but still solid) in a couple of fields that had jalapeno pepper in the fall. These had been mowed, but pods which had not disintegrated were scattered throughout the field. We dissected pods and never found any grubs, but we did collect adults on the outside of these pods. I believe that these old pods are providing a food source for adults, thus allowing them to live for several months (instead of a few weeks without food).
We then placed pheromone traps in a couple of fields. These are baited with both the weevil pheromone and a plant extract. These baits have not performed well historically (when tested in standing pepper fields), but we have caught adult weevils consistently with these traps in the last few weeks.
Bottom line is that we did appear to overwinter adult pepper weevil in South Georgia. With this fact, I would suggest treating early pepper fields for weevils at the first sign of any buds in the field. Weevils will feed on foliage, but this damage is insignificant. They require a fruiting structure to reproduce. Thus, let the plants attract the weevils into the field until the plants are getting ready to set fruit and then eliminate the weevils prior to reproduction. Hopefully this will start us off clean and prevent the problems we saw last fall.
A final reminder – last year the pyrethroid insecticides were not controlling pepper weevil in Georgia. Products which have shown good efficacy include oxamyl (Vydate and others), Assail and to a lesser extent, Exirel.