What Is Eating My Pepper Plants At Night?

After investing time and effort into growing your pepper plants, it can be disheartening to discover that they have become the target of pests.

Many home gardeners choose to grow pepper plants because they aren’t very demanding in terms of care.

However, whilst their sweet or spicy taste makes them a staple addition to many dishes, this can make them appealing to pests too.

What Is Eating My Pepper Plants At night

There are several culprits that may be responsible for eating your pepper plants.

Slugs are a pest that targets many garden plants and will often nibble on the leaves of pepper plants too. Identifying whether slugs are the culprit is a fairly easy task as they will typically leave a slimy trail behind them.

Caterpillars are another popular culprit. Often they will attack the leaves leaving them visibly damaged and they can even eat a whole pepper in a single night.

Tomato caterpillars in particular are the most likely to target your plant. They are large and green and color and can ruin your pepper garden.

A group of caterpillars can consume and damage the majority of your pepper plants overnight, so it is important to try and identify whether they are the cause as soon as possible to lessen the impact that they have on your plants.

Due to their size, thrips are more difficult to identify, however, they are known to feed on the leaves of pepper plants.

Some thrips can carry a virus that can be harmful to your plants should they come into contact with it.

Though thrips are generally deemed to be easier to control, you should still act upon their presence as soon as possible, because once the plants become infected with this virus that they carry, they cannot be restored.

Aphids are another pest that is rather difficult to see, however, they are believed to be one of the most serious pepper plant pests.

Should a colony of aphids discover your pepper plants, they have the ability to destroy it overnight by sucking on the plant's fluid and leaving it very dry.

You must respond to this infestation as soon as possible because a colony of aphids can multiply in numbers rapidly and this presents a greater risk of them causing severe damage to your pepper plant garden.

Whiteflies are capable of causing a hefty amount of damage to your pepper plants. They act in a similar way to aphids in the sense that they suck the sap from the plants leaving it dry. 

They will also leave a trail of stickiness behind them after doing so. If they continue to suck on your pepper plants they will eventually prevent your plant from growing any further.

Unlike several other pests, whiteflies are quite easy to identify. Upon shaking your plant, you will likely notice some flies that have quickly flown away, these are what are known as the whiteflies.

Flea beetles are a common pest that can destroy a variety of plants. Whilst they are known to target pepper plants, often they will target radishes, broccoli, potatoes, tomato plants, and more.

Should they target your pepper plant, there is a risk that they will prevent it from growing to its full potential.

Spider mites are minute red pests that can also affect a variety of plants including pepper plants, however, white spider mites can also be rather problematic.

Similar to aphids and thrips, spider mites can be extremely difficult to identify because they are so small but they can cause some severe damage to the leaves of your pepper plants in particular.

To pinpoint whether spider mites are the route of the issue you will need to inspect your plant's leaves.

If you notice a dusty residue on the underside surface then you know that spider mites are the issue.

Pepper hornworms are another common pepper plant pest.

These moth larvae can be hard to notice during the day because they will typically hide beneath the leaves of the plant.

As the night approaches, these hornworms will then appear and begin to feed on your plants. 

How do you stop pests from eating your pepper plants at night?

Getting rid of your pepper plant pests can be quite difficult because many are so small that they are difficult to spot.

Many pests will also only come out at night time which means finding them during the day isn’t going to be an easy task.

There are many ways of removing these pests using methods that are safe for your plants and the environment.

Although many would reach for the insecticides or pesticides, over time, regular exposure can actually make the pests resistant to them meaning that they will be ineffective in fulfilling their purpose.

In many instances, getting rid of pests can be as easy as picking them off the plants using your hands.

For example snails and caterpillars can be handpicked and then placed in an area at a distance away from any of your plants. 

Due to the time of day at which these pests come out, you will need to wait until nighttime before attempting this method of removal.

Depending on the pest, you may be able to get rid of them by simply shaking your plant. Doing so will disturb the plant and encourage them to fly away.

Another option includes the use of a water hose. The pressure from the water will force the pests off the surface of your plant.

Also, use the hose to water plants near prevent them from sticking to those instead. The only problem with this method is that there is a risk of giving the plant too much water if you focus the hose on it intensely.

To avoid such issues ensure that you take care with the volume of water. 

Alternative methods include setting up sticky traps.

This will affect the pest's ability to crawl across the plant and its leaves. Another safe method involves the use of soapy water.