Determining pepper weevil pathways

2012 Annual 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

Determining pepper weevil pathways


Pepper weevil (Anthonomus eugenii Cano) made a first appearance in April in Atlantic County then followed in larger numbers into four more counties in August. 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 67 traps placed at various locations trapped nearly 900 weevils. 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.

Objectives/Performance Targets

Visual detection for the weevil, via two-component Trece pepper weevil lure on a sticky-coated 6×12 card, is the primary evaluation tool.
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 field scouts, cards were mounted inside the vehicles driven among farms by evaluators. The twice weekly data are tabulated with the last weevil for this season found on December 7. We continue to monitor a few areas.
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.
Presentations at the NJ-Acts convention in February are scheduled.


A. April 2012 Flow chart of each farm’s process for growing and handling peppers. Determine lure locations. Develop spreadsheets. Order materials and mount cards in chosen locations.

Status: 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 would be beneficial in the future.

B. May 2012 Observe and record indications from all cards on a twice-weekly basis. Change pheromone lures in 4-6 week intervals. Rutgers vegetable IPM coordinator reviews results twice weekly.

Status: In Process. Most cards removed by December but a few continue and are intended to remain through the winter. Project would benefit from determination of comparative effectiveness of un-baited cards.

C. June 2012 Observe and record indications from all cards on a twice weekly basis. Perform and record results for plant bud/fruit inspections. Note growth pattern and appearance. Note activities related to cultivation, spraying, and processing (e.g. truck loading, packing crate shifting, etc.)

Status: In process: Data evaluation underway. Spread sheets developed for data collection early on in project. Areas displays prepared for trap results. Data tabulated and graphed. Farmer-cooperators are supplying their process dates and spray schedules.

D. July 2012 Change pheromone lures on a 4 to 6 week basis. Change cards as needed. Continue data collection. Consult with farmers regarding project progress, seek their recommendations. Rutgers vegetable IPM coordinator reviews results twice weekly.

Status: Complete at farm sites.

E. Aug-Nov 2012 Same as above. It is expected that off-farm sites may be recommended for monitoring if weevils appear with no direct route of entry evident. The possibility of supplemental trap placement off-farm will need to be addressed individually to a property owner on a case basis by a Rutgers representative.

Status: Continuing. 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, has 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.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

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. We need to review in depth, by consultation with other states, their success in insecticidal control.


George Ruggero
Homestead Farms
7691 Weymouth Rd
Hammonton, NJ 08037
Office Phone: 6095617404
August Wuillermin
Ed Wuillermin and Sons
894 Ninth St
Hammonton, NJ 08037
Office Phone: 6095177413
Bernadette Eichinger
Field Applications Specialist
6 Irongate Drive
Voorhees, NJ 08043-1607
Office Phone: 8567510810
Bob Muth
Muth Family Farm
51 E. Woodland Ave.
Pitman, NJ 08071
Office Phone: 8565820363