Determining pepper weevil pathways

Final Report for ONE12-161

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2012: $14,957.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Region: Northeast
State: New Jersey
Project Leader:
Joseph Ingerson-Mahar
Rutgers University
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Project Information

Summary:

During the spring and summer of 2012 we investigated the arrival of pepper weevil (Anthonomus eugenii Cano) into southern New Jersey farms. Pepper weevil made a first appearance in April in Atlantic County then followed in larger numbers into four more counties in August. We found wide presence of the weevil. Spread is rapid among and within the counties.

The starting goal of tracking its arrival and presence at three farms and a control extended to include twelve farm areas and two non-farm sites. The 66 traps placed at various locations trapped nearly 900 weevils. We determined that the weevil is not introduced via transplants given that none of the farmers use transplants, and we monitored the process from seeding onward. We confirmed that the insect does not overwinter here, though it is remarkably hardy, surviving into December. We found the weevils early at non-farm businesses, and later observed many practices that can facilitate its transport among farms. In consult with three farmer partners, and including other affected businesses, we identified numerous potential paths of weevil movement throughout the area. Production and distribution processes remain under evaluation. We need to better define the pathways by which the sub-tropical pest arrives here, and to mediate that presence by mechanical means or process changes. We also need to develop a protocol for farmers to utilize to determine action when the pest arrives or its damage is found in the field.

Introduction:

Background

Pepper weevil, Anthonomus eugenii Cano (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), is the most important insect pest of pepper in the southern United States and tropical and sub-tropical America (Capinera, 2002 and Toapanto, 2005). Capinera and Toapanto also provide excellent descriptions of the characteristics and life cycle of the pepper weevil. Pepper weevil is not regulated in the U.S. so there is no requirement that would limit its spread within the U.S. The destructive insect deposits its eggs in flower buds or in small, developing fruit of the pepper. All varieties of pepper are affected. The larvae bore into the fruit, eat, and create a pupal cell. After emergence the adults chew out of the fruit to continue their life cycle. The ovipositing habit followed by hidden growth internal to the fruit, thus invisible to detection, causes significant fruit drop and damage to the pepper core. Crop losses, 50% in the commercial field and up to 90% in untreated test plots, have been reported in Florida (Riley and Sparks, 1995). This is a pest common to Florida and Texas with most U. S. studies originating in these states. However, severe losses up to 100% were cited in Florida, California, Texas, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean (Seal and Schuster, 1995). In moving North, the first recorded infestation in Virginia, at Virginia Beach, is documented in 2007.

Though the commonly speculated source for cooler climates is thought to be transport via transplants, none of the farmers used transplants in the Virginia infestation (Schultz, 2008). One document minimally mentions an appearance in New Jersey (Burke, 1980) with no other information given. In 1999 Rutgers’ Centerton Research Farm (Cumberland County) reported a light infestation. In 2004 one grower in Atlantic County, NJ experienced a $60,000 pepper crop loss due to the pepper weevil. Since 2004, however, during crop inspections conducted under the vegetable IPM service offered by Rutgers, the pepper weevil has been found nearly annually, skipping 2005, in southern New Jersey pepper crops primarily in Atlantic County (Ingerson-Mahar, 2012). The Rutgers’ New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station mentions pepper weevil as a pest occasionally imported on older transplants or transplants with flowers and fruits. The document provides spray recommendations. In 2010 pepper weevil was detected in several greenhouses in Canada and importation from the U.S. or Mexico is thought to be the main pathway into Canadian greenhouses. Risk assessment was conducted and it was determined that best management practices and IPM measures could control it should it reappear, thus it is not regulated in Canada (Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 2011).

Findings in 2011

In the summer of 2011, during routine monitoring of insect counts under the Rutgers’ vegetable IPM program, the IPM coordinator placed a sticky card containing pepper weevil lures at a farm (Farm 1) in Atlantic County. The date was July 5. A pepper weevil arrived on the lured sticky card two days after. The sticky card was standard 6”x12” (15x30cm) yellow with Trece dual aggregation/sexual attractant PEW lures attached. Based on this finding we placed lured cards at two more farms known to raise peppers. The second, Farm 2, also in Atlantic County NJ, is two miles from the first. Another pepper farmer, Farm 3, in Gloucester County is thirty miles from Farm 1 and Farm 2, so we placed a card there as a caution. On September 2 the first weevil arrived at Farm 2 and on September 12 Farm 3 was affected. We advised the farmers of the weevils’ arrival and the three decided to implement the Rutgers control recommendations for insecticidal spray.

Pepper weevils are known to eat solanaceous crops such as tomato and eggplant as well as pepper and including the nightshades but they oviposit only in peppers. We inspected the surrounding areas for known plant hosts and found three nightshade plants at Farm 1. We removed the nightshade plants. The farmers continued insecticidal controls via spray for the rest of the summer of 2011 at the three farms. Only one more weevil was found in Gloucester County on Farm 3. One acre of fruit was lost at Farm 2. Under routine, albeit expensive, insecticidal control no loss in product occurred at Farm 1. Farm 1 had been the most heavily infested.

By mid October the fields were harvested with mowing and disking completed shortly thereafter. During field mowing and disking a flush of weevils attached to the cards at Farm 1. We continued to monitor at all of the three farms. An ice storm ensued on October 31, yet on the November 9 inspection, on two of the Farm 1 cards, we found 40 and 90 weevils including 10 mating pairs. The prior night low temperature had been 34F (1.1C). We placed five standard emergent traps and three cone traps in that field on the suspicion that the weevils had been plowed under and were coming up from the ground. None were caught in the emergent and cone traps over the next month. During the season and prior to mowing the total captures at this field had been 87. After mowing we captured an additional 487 on the cards.

Our final 2011 catch occurred on 12/6/11.

In 2011 we found the weevil in pepper fields from July 7 to December 6. We don’t know why these sub-tropical pests are in southern New Jersey nor do we know the arrival pathway. The usual suspected source of arrival via transplants is not accurate for the farmers here. Pepper weevil does not diapause and should die-off as food reserves disappear in the winters here. These anomalous arrivals provided the impetus for our effort to describe for the farm community why this insidious, expensive-to-control, pest is found here. The control of pepper weevil adults, even with the use of recommended insecticide was marginally successful. They did not stop completely.

As precursor for the next spring we discussed with farmers the handling of peppers from receipt to ultimate sale to try to assess potential sources of pest arrival, to try to discern what might have occasioned the 2011 year’s arrival, and to try to anticipate another occurrence. We particularly tried to ascertain commonality in handling the produce outside the farm.

The outcome of the initial conversations with the affected farmers revealed several suspicions of entry pathways and economic concerns:
? None of the three farmers use transplants, all opting to start from seed, so transplants are not the source here.
? High level of frustration and unplanned expense results from trying to control this elusive pest.
? Because of resistance to low temperature, farmers are concerned that the weevils, though sub-tropical, may be adapted to winters here despite literature assertions that the weevil does not diapause and can’t survive here without food.
? We speculated that the weevil perhaps overwintered in greenhouses or in protected vegetable processing areas, packing houses, loading areas.
? A vegetable processor is located two miles from Farm 1. We requested and received permission to monitor at the processor facility (dumpster).
? A neighbor, located between Farm 1 and Farm 2, uses vegetable discards that he trucks from a local repacking company to the processor or to his own cull pile as food for wildlife. There were no peppers present then. He granted permission for us to monitor his cull pile.

Farmers also briefed us on their local pepper handling, a complicated process described later. We inspected the surrounding areas of the farms looking for alternate food sources above ground and found none. We continued to place traps in the fields of the same three farmers, and asked a fourth remote farmer (Farm 4, Cumberland County) to allow us to monitor his prior 2011 fields, greenhouses, and anticipated 2012 fields as controls. He agreed. This fourth farmer had reported one prior isolated early fall infestation, source unknown, but not thought to be related to the repetitive Atlantic County pepper weevil arrivals. We monitored for the pest at all four farms throughout the winter.

SARE Project for 2012

Having assimilated the 2011 data, impressions of the farmers, plus our own observations, we were in process of monitoring all of the greenhouses and a high tunnel in all 4 farms, all of the 2011 fields, the neighbor's wildlife cull pile and the processor facility dumpster. From data collected in 2011, we know that the pepper weevil can survive plowing,disking, and cool weather (air 34F) presumably while the food source remains. After December 6, 2011 and through the spring of 2012, no weevil was detected outside nor was one found within any greenhouse at any of the four farms that we continued to monitor.
We sought and obtained SARE 2012 financial support to continue the search for the pathway to arrival of this elusive pest and to scope the problem extent. The three farmers affected in 2011 agreed to partner in this effort. As the same farms were readied for new planting, we monitored both the 2011 fields and those being prepared for the 2012 planting season. We continued to monitor greenhouses. All farmers grow their own seedlings and don’t use transplants. Only negative results were obtained in all areas being monitored as the spring plantings initiated.
Pepper weevil did appear in the spring of 2012 and is the topic of the current monitoring work.

Project Objectives:

In discussion with each farmer we gained insight into the farmer’s process for growing and handling peppers. The information determined lure locations. We are still elucidating process and have learned that the interface of farm to market and disposal processes is complicated. It involves multiple cross-connects to a variety of other farms and businesses. Based on this year’s outcome we observe that fewer internal farm monitoring sites and more potential weevil arrival sites at disturbed areas and at handling facilities would be beneficial in the future.

Baited cards anchored in the pepper fields served adequately. Baited cards placed in areas of produce movement greenhouses, packing rooms, loading docks, storage barns, transient housing, and truck parking all trapped weevils To address the issue of potential spread via scouts, cards were mounted inside the vehicles driven among farms by evaluators. A weevil did appear on a pheromone card inside an SUV.

As originally planned we observed and recorded indications from all cards on a twice-weekly basis, changing pheromone lures in 4-6 week intervals. The need for supplemental trap placement arose quickly and expanded geographically to other counties. As information developed through the season the need for more traps, outside farm specific areas, appeared. To accomplish prime objectives of determining entry paths we will need to continue to another season and survey several farm-related enterprises in the vegetable handling and distribution arena.

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Bernadette Eichinger
  • Bob Muth
  • George Ruggero
  • August Wuillermin

Research

Materials and methods:
Sites

The farms involved in this study are located in four counties in Southern New Jersey, Atlantic, Gloucester, Cumberland, and Salem. To start we included the two farms in Atlantic County (Farms 1 and 2) and one farm in Gloucester County (Farm 3). These were known to be affected in 2011. A fourth farm (Farm 0), distant, and not affected in 2011, in Salem County served as a control. Two facilities that handle peppers in the Atlantic County area, and the trucks of the evaluators which transit among the farms, were added.

Cumberland County sites evidenced pepper weevil as the season progressed. The list below in Table 1 shows the sampling sites for the 2012 planting season. Placement of cards for sampling for the presence of pepper weevil was based on field location and arrangement. For example, Farm 3 with 9 acres has 9 sampling points because there are three widely separated fields. Placement of cards approximated an X-pattern distribution across a field, or favored perimeters near high traffic, or monitored prior year “hot spots”. The number of traps placed increased as the season progressed and as we discovered, or were requested to evaluate, new suspected infestations. The number of farms finally totaled 11. The final sites for trap location totaled 66. Monitoring for this season commenced in March and continued through November for the majority of farms. Most traps were removed at the end of November, but a few still continued in select locations in December 2012. Those remaining in place (6) represented areas where pepper weevil is still present. The trap location, number of traps, and start dates are tabulated below:

Card Preparation

We drilled holes into yellow sticky cards (6 x 12 inch)attaching them to 3 or 4 ft long x one quarter inch diameter wooden dowels. Lures containing a dual sex attractant and an aggregation hormone manufactured by Trece Inc, procured from Great Lakes IPM, were attached to the cards. A 2-component lure attached to the support assembly is shown in Figure 1.

We inserted the cards at chosen locations into the soil at each of the fields to approximate uniform field coverage when feasible, but favoring perimeters, and also placed them in equipment traffic areas such as itinerant housing and loading docks. The height was near the canopy. At farm 1 we placed cards in areas that were heavily invaded by pepper weevil in 2011, though this year those fields have tomatoes planted. We placed cards in consonance with the timing and location of the field activities. As farmers set transplants in the field, we set traps in the same area. A record of the days of placement was retained so that total days of exposure could be tallied. In the main we inspected the cards twice a week, tallied pepper weevils and removed all weevils. We changed the cards at least weekly and some more frequently as the cards became filled with insects. We changed the lures every 4 to 6 weeks.

The cards remained in the same approximate locations until mowing and disking in October caused some movement to nearby areas so as to not interference with equipment. Cards did suffer some loss during the season as weather destroyed or farm equipment ruined some. They were replaced until discontinued at the end of November.

Pepper Weevil Identification

Pepper weevils were identified first visually by observing for their typical body structure, size of 2-3.5 mm, and comportment; and, most importantly, the presence of a spur on the femurs. Features were also confirmed in the field with a 10X hand-lens, and later microscopically using a compound microscope with zoom lens. Two examples of pepper weevil are shown in Figure 2

Research results and discussion:
Results

On the cards starting 3/16/12 first we trapped many Ceutorhynchus species, cabbage weevils, primarily black and silver in color. These were followed starting on 3/22 by many cranberry weevils. Cranberry weevils are also Anthonomus species like the pepper weevil, but are smaller and redder than pepper weevils. These weevils do have the characteristic spur on the femur and so require caution in identification because of structural similarities.

On 4/16 we trapped two pepper weevils, not in a field but at a processor facility. The processor had been cutting peppers from Florida. The next capture at the same location was 5/16. June and July were devoid of captures of pepper weevil At times flies including white flies, gnats, wasps, thrips and moths (later, particularly beet armyworm moth) filled the cards sometimes necessitating card renewal twice a week.

The 2011 arrival of pepper weevil had occurred on 7/7. In 2012 we reached early August without another finding of pepper weevil beyond the March and April at the processing facility. This late an appearance was unexpected, but sudden arrival did occur in August. By mid-August we began to collect pepper weevils on many of the traps both in Atlantic and Gloucester Counties. As we discussed what might have occasioned this sudden influx, the processor noted receipt and interchange of containers among farmers from another county. The process of farms centralizing container utilization, is not crop specific, and is quite common. There had been transfer of products, as well as containers, between eggplant and peppers, among the processor, and Atlantic and Cumberland county farms. We expanded the list of farms of interest to include those that had transferred containers from Cumberland County, requesting and receiving permission to monitor from owners. A commercial scout called to alert us to a crop damaged by pepper weevil also in Cumberland County. We set out traps there and at neighboring farms near the known damaged crop.

As the season progressed we found weevils wherever we placed a trap, whether in a pepper field or ancillary to it. Several microcosms of contamination established. Figure 3 graphically displays these concentrations of infestation. Figure 4 shows an arrangement of traps at one of the farms monitored in 2012.

Pepper weevils attack all varieties of pepper. Hot and sweet varieties are not differentiated in the trap placements above. In 2011 the state of New Jersey harvested 3400 acres of bell peppers at a production value of $30.4M. The loss of an acre of bell peppers is valued at ~$9K. Similar production information for chili varieties in not collected by USDA because so few acres are devoted to their production (Cheng).

Observations

At Farm 1 most (79%) of the insects returned to the area infested last year (upper left), now containing tomatoes, and the weevils did not favor the new pepper plantings a half mile away (lower right). Yet the total concentration is only one-quarter of last year’s catch (144/574.)

Farm 2 current planting is adjacent to a well-travelled county road and this year had significantly more insects overall which favored the street side of the field and the area next to eggplant (228 weevils trapped in 2012 vs 11 in 2011). Farmer 3 (2 insects last year, 107 this year) described no interface at all to the other farms or supporting facilities. He reports using drying chambers in common with other county users at a distribution center. Farmer 4 planted peppers this year after a 4 year lapse. A high concentration of insects, 48%, landed remote from his peppers but followed the path of transit from prior plantings. A weevil attached to a trap hanging inside the opened hatchback of an evaluator’s SUV as the evaluator was checking traps. As harvest and fruit movement continued weevils did attach to cards at loading docks. A weevil, at control Farmer 0 in Salem County, attached to the card at his housing area. This occurred on November 7, about a half mile from the long-gone pepper field already turned under. Farmer 11, who uses no transplants but has a late greenhouse crop, to be harvested in January, asked for help in determining the cause of his peppers aborting. The IPM coordinator visited the facility on 11/26 and found live pepper weevil adults in the fallen fruit, but none on the cards. The owner manages a community garden known to have some pepper weevils. The finding of fruit infestation with no trap captures had been reported for the Virginia Beach infestation mentioned earlier (Schultz, 2008).

Discussion

Pepper weevil appeared in August of 2012 throughout four counties in Southern New Jersey. We were watching for its arrival in Atlantic and Gloucester Counties in areas of previous infestation. Contrary to expectation, expansion was not by a slow spread leading out from a central point. Early findings in Atlantic County seemed to follow a progression from one place to another via possible insect flight, vehicle transport and common use of produce bins, but those observations did not entirely hold true with time. We do know now that infested fruit is a pathway for introduction and spread. We don’t know that it is the only entrance point.

As the arrivals increased, and reports of arrivals, we also discovered similar situations in Cumberland and Salem counties with fruit damage reported. The total number of captures is lower in these latter two. We had neither been expecting nor monitoring for the weevil there.
Pepper weevils are known to exhibit clumping behavior so card placement is ill-defined that would enable a representative estimate of field populations. Recommendations were found which varied from 10 to 20 cards per acre. Our traps included dowel, card, and lures with a material cost about $6.00 each. One expert (Deal) suggested a maximum distance between cards of 1000 ft., a recommendation that we followed as feasible. No literature has suggested that sites remote from the pepper field would have allowed so many captures. We had placed cards at spots that might prove beneficial in capturing insects in transit, and at prior hot spots. What appears as a return to a prior favored spot was quite surprising, and emphasizes that more of the behavior of this pest needs to be elucidated.

In further conversation with Dr. Deal he expressed some concern inherent with the use of lured traps, because of the potential for attracting weevils to a field. We share this concern but do know that the weevil preceded our traps in several locales. If we were successful in detecting presence without lures, this would provide significant advantage give that the lures commercially are double the price that we are paying. It does not provide a time advantage.
One farmer-cooperator frequently speculated that pepper weevil (as well as other pests and diseases) may be hitch-hiking on a scout’s vehicle. The finding of a weevil on a card in an evaluator’s vehicle does serve as a precautionary for the future.

Through the winter and spring we had not found a weevil in a greenhouse used by any of the farmer-cooperators. In August we did find some in a high tunnel. We did find weevils in two late-season greenhouses. These had not been monitored in early season, and so surmise that these two infestations came from the areal presence. Findings in a greenhouse are particularly disturbing given that their subsequent release could easily spread.

No research has definitively related trap captures to field damage. Recommendations for action levels for insecticidal application vary among authors but relate to fruit inspection for presence of the pest, or to visible field damage. When we found pepper weevils all of the farmers commenced following the Rutgers’ insecticidal control recommendations. Pepper weevil monitoring is uncommon in New Jersey given that it shouldn’t be here. We will need to develop a protocol to assist farmers in avoiding the crop loss associated to missing the pest arrival. Associated to this is an economic determination of the impact on crop yield versus the expense of insecticidal control.

Apparent during the conduct of this search for pepper weevil pathways are the complicated interfaces that can arise as vegetables grow and marketing proceeds.
We wish to detect first arrival and perhaps did accomplish this, but are not able yet to link the arrival non-farm to the field presence. Will this year’s influx be duplicated?
We desire to discover the source of these pests to be able to eliminate them or at least to predict when and who might be affected. We need an effective way to determine if and when there is a need to spray while avoiding economic loss. We did discover common potential sites for origin and many more for spread. Spread appears to be rapid and easy. We need to engage these facilities in a cooperative effort to locate a source, and find a solution:

A vegetable distributor/repackager operates adjacent to (owns) one farm, and is within 4 miles of others. We are in conversation with this one company. Import of southern peppers into this region is not uncommon, and other distributors likely do the same. We would like to routinely scan their facilities for pepper weevil presence in discards and seconds.

One vegetable waste handler is common to most of the farms, though there are two.

All of the affected farmers employ people who have worked for many years at the farm, but the farmers occasionally employ migrant workers who are hired as hourly workers and who arrive from a gathering area, now known to have a community garden with low population of pepper weevil. There is a large early influx of workers into cranberry fields which perhaps transport insect from southern points. Most of the vegetable farms are in close proximity to cranberry growers.

A health support organization is common to the farms and enters the fields. We are in conversation with this organization.

A very large vegetable auction has facilities for freeze-drying that are used by multiple farms.

This year’s crop of weevils invaded four counties. We don’t know if it is an unreported presence elsewhere in the state, existing at so low a level that it has gone unnoticed. We have seen its ease in spread.

Research conclusions:

Preliminary results clarify pepper weevil behavior in this non-native area of the country. Transplants are not the source of insect arrival as is usually blamed. The ease of spread is surprising.

What we learned

FARM

• None of the greenhouses monitored from the prior winter through the spring had weevils present
• Southern transplants are not the source of pepper weevil arrival since no farm uses southern transplants
• Pepper weevil appeared in four counties where we were monitoring in southern New Jersey in 2012
• 2-component lured cars will attract the weevils
• The field arrival was mid to late summer
• Insecticidal sprays may inhibit but didn’t stop weevil infestations
• If found in fields it will be found in processed scraps
• It will clump to areas with no peppers present such as housing
• It returned to prior locations even with no peppers present
• If not detected upon arrival fruit loss can occur
• The weevil will move to loading areas with the harvested fruit
• The weevil can survive in empty fields into December

NON-FARM

• Infested fruit is a primary pathway for introduction
• 2-component lured cars will attract the weevils
• Pepper weevil was present in April and May at a processing facility dumpster and at a local cull pile
• Most facilities use the same open dumpster contractors
• Wooden packing crates interchange among farms routinely from central storage, transport and processing points.
• Pepper weevil is present in pepper waste processed from fruit received from Florida
• A greenhouse growing late season peppers exhibited infested fruit
• Pepper fruit can be infested without the card showing any adults (greenhouse)

TRANSPORT

• Local processors and re-packers bring in peppers from southern areas throughout the year
• The weevil can be transported in a scout’s vehicle
• The mobile health professional service at the housing areas is common.
• Microcosms of presence formed. (If found at one farm, high likelihood of spread to a neighbor)
• At least two facilities frequented by many of the farms receive or repack southern peppers
• A greenhouse near a central worker pick-up point has weevils in it
• The weevil spreads very rapidly and easily (similar to a contagious disease pathogen)

What we need to confirm

• Agents of introduction, i.e. sites and timing of arrival of infested fruit (at nearby re-packers, distributors, supermarkets, etc., by capture of weevils)
• The originating source of infested fruit
• Agents of spread (e.g. dumpster, cull pile, truck delivery, weather front, workers)
• The link between distant locations
• The county range impacted
• Cost/benefit of monitoring and insecticidal control

Ultimate goals

• Introduce mechanical or process change to stall initial entry of the weevil
• Introduce mechanical or process change to limit spread
• Provide detection, action level, and control protocol to assist farmers in managing the pest to their economic advantage

Participation Summary

Education & Outreach Activities and Participation Summary

Participation Summary:

Education/outreach description:

We have engaged Texas and Florida experts in conversation regarding this insect’s behavior. (Seal, Riley)

The September 5, 2012 edition of the NJAES Plant and Pest Advisory headlined the spread of pepper weevil into South Jersey and provides guidance for inspection and control.

A presentation at the University of Delaware mid-Atlantic Vegetable Workers Meeting on November 7 highlighted microcosms of spread.

Results to date were presented in two parts at the New Jersey Agricultural Convention and Trade Show convention held on February 5, 2013 . The presentations are included as Figures 5 and 6.

Project Outcomes

Project outcomes:

This part of the work is in its infancy and we have not completed cost-benefit analysis. We do ask each farmer to evaluate risk versus benefit versus time remaining for a productive field. In New Jersey, from our small sampling, farmers expect anywhere from 4 to 8 field pickings before season’s end. This is in stark contrast to the Florida practice of abandoning a field early on for the fresh market because of the weevil. From responses received to queries to the participating farmers, it is noted that each is spending about $200-300, in material only, on average per insecticide application per acre per season. This is material cost and includes neither labor nor other material such as equipment depreciation, fuel, etc. The net value of an acre of peppers produced is about $4000- $6000 per acre. Several applications of insecticide are applied specifically because of the finding of pepper weevil. We need to continue the risk-reward estimation for farms in southern New Jersey in order to provide sensible guidance for those facing the invasion of this pest.

Farmer Adoption

Each of the farmers participating as partners in this evaluation followed recommendations for control of the weevil when it appeared in their fields, and none suffered fruit loss. Other farmers throughout the area also cooperated in reacting to the insect's presence and using insecticides to limit the damage. There is a high interest in continuing this study to find a way to predict arrival and plan control.

Assessment of Project Approach and Areas of Further Study:

Areas needing additional study

What we need to confirm:

• Agents of introduction, i.e. sites and timing of arrival of infested fruit (at nearby re-packers, distributors, supermarkets, etc., by capture of weevils)
• The originating source of infested fruit
• Agents of spread (e.g. dumpster, cull pile, truck delivery, weather front, workers)
• The link between distant locations
• The county range impacted
• Cost/benefit of monitoring and insecticidal control

Ultimate goals:

• Introduce mechanical or process change to stall initial entry of the weevil
• Introduce mechanical or process change to limit spread
• Provide detection, action level, and control protocol to assist farmers in managing the pest to their economic advantage

Citations

Burke, R.& Woodruff, R.(1980,October). The pepper weevil(Anthonomus eugenii Cano)in florida (Coleoptera:Curculionidae) Entomology Circular No. 219, Fla. Dept. Agric. Consumer Serv.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency,(2011). Rmd-10-28: Anthonomous eugenii (pepper weevil) – pest risk management document

Capinera, J.(2011, December).Pepper weevil, Anthonomous eugenii Cano (Insecta:Coleoptera:Curculionidae) EENY-278 (IN555). Entomology and Nematology Department,University of Florida, Retrieved from http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu

Ingerson-Mahar, J. (n.d.). Pepper weevil in new jersey. Retrieved from http://www.pestmanagement.rutgers.edu/ipm/Vegetable/

Ingerson-Mahar, J. (2012, November). Pepper weevil 2012. Mid-atlantic vegetable workers meeting, Newark, DE

Riley, D. & Sparks, A. (1995, September). The pepper weevil and its management, Publication L-5069 Texas AgriLife Extension

Schultz, P., & Kuhar, T. (2008, January 08). First record of pepper weevil infestation in virginia . Retrieved from Plant Health Progress DOI:10.1094/PHP-2008-0118-01BR. 2p.

Seal, D., & Schuster, D. (1995). Control of pepper weevil, Anthonomus eugenii, in west-central and south florida. Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society, 108, 220-225.

Seal, D., & Lamberts, M. (2012, May/June). Pepper weevil, Anthonomus eugenii Cano coleoptera: Curculionidae),an important pest of pepper. The Vegetarian Newsletter A Horticultural Sciences Department Extension Publication on Vegetable and Fruit Crops Issue 574.

Toapanta, M. Shuster, D., Stansly, P. (2005). Development and life history of Anthonomus eugenii (Coleoptera:Curculionidae) at constant temperatures. Environmental Entomology, 34(5), 999-108.

Rutgers NJAES. (2012). Commercial vegetable production recommendations for new jersey. Retrieved from http://njaes.rutgers.edu/pubs/publication.asp?pid=e001

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.