pepper problem

Asked September 3, 2017, 10:12 PM EDT

greetings - i sent this to OSU extension on another page, so this may be a repeat if you get both; apologies if that's the case... our gypsie peppers are experiencing a problem; the skins have blotchy areas on them.. i wonder if the beetles in the other picture are the culprits? any thoughts on whether the peppers are still o.k. to eat? i have NOT treated them in any way (NO spray, etc.).... if you recognize this problem, do you know of any solutions (the more benign the better!).. thanks for any assistance!

Lane County Oregon

2 Responses

Thank you for attaching the images as they reveal both the kind of damage and the culprits.

The insects are brown marmorated stink bugs (Halyomorpha halys), also known as BMSB. They have piercing sucking mouthparts. When they pierce the skin of peppers (and other fruits or vegetables), they inject salivary fluids to start digesting the cells. Unfortunately, that activity results in inedible, corky tissue. If the peppers have only a few spots, you can easily trim them out and enjoy!

Pesticides are of minimal value against BMSB. Even though sprayed directly, the bugs tend to recover and walk free within hours.

BMSB are rather sluggish. So, search-and-destroy missions every day or two will decrease the population instantly. When you find one, flick it into soapy water. (Revenge feels so good!)

Enjoy your garden.

we really appreciate you helping us solve this "stink bug" problem...
we'll follow your directions about pinching them off and into soapy water...
you folks are always a great help with our garden issues!
roger evers