Greenhouse pepper growers of Southern Ontario have suffered some big losses over the last few years, all because of one little culprit: anthonomus eugenii, the pepper weevil. For many farms, the ill-intended stowaway was just a boogie man – “We better put out some pheromone traps, I heard they’re in town!” But in the summer of 2016, all that changed. Many small factors led up to the massive bombshell that was pepper weevils last summer: Peppers being brought in from its native habitat – Mexico, the Southern states, etc; the mild winter we all probably enjoyed; improper disposal of fruit at farms that had infestations; the use of chemicals as an attempt to exterminate them, which instead resulted in faster egg laying as a defensive response to the perceived threat…and some of these were really just a result of inexperience with the tricky critter.
While we have been working hard at our farm this year to improve all protocols for this pest, one of the biggest things I am just beginning to fully understand is that there needs to be a bigger “WE”. “WE” needs to mean not only my workplace. Not only our neighbors. Not just our town — not even just pepper growers! What “WE” absolutely has to mean, if we want to overcome this horticultural cataclysm, is the whole farming community must come together. The keyword here is community. We spend so much time being competitors; it’s time to join forces as comrades and beat this thing, because there’s no “last man standing” in this situation. We all win, or we all lose. One small step we can take towards this victory is to open up our lines of communication. Let’s quell the rumors and the finger pointing, and talk about this as a group with one goal: eradicating our enemy. I’ve set up a simple forum, a neutral ground where we can all talk openly and not have to deal with our crazy new greenhouse entry protocols. We can brainstorm new ideas, share all the weird things we’ve tried, discuss new areas of concern, etc. With tuta absoluta on the move, this may come in handy sometime in the future as well. But for now, let’s start by defusing the word “pepper weevil”. It’s not something to be ashamed of. If you have it, you probably did everything in your power to not have it, but it happened anyway, right? I thought so. Let’s talk. Let’s think. And lets wipe out this S.O.B, together!
Join the conversation at http://weeviltalks.proboards.com/