A survey of the insect pests and farmers' practices in the cropping of yellow pepper Capsicum annuum Linnaeus in Enugu State of Eastern Nigeria.
Yellow pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) is the second market gardening crop after tomato, and subsequently, a major source of income to farmers in Nigeria. Pests and diseases reduce yields and quality of marketable fruits. A study was conducted in Ibagwa-Agu, Lejja, Edem, Alor-Uno and Eha-Alumona agro-based communities of Nsukka Local Government Area to assess the economic implications of insect infestation and control strategies on yellow pepper yield. Data on insect pests was collected using the modified Whittaker sampling techniques from July to September 2015, while farming practices and economic consequences of pest infestation were monitored using questionnaires in December 2015. A total of 2,279 insects comprising 10 pests and 2 predators were collected. Myzus persicae Sulzer (27.6% of total collections), Bemisia tabaci Genn. (21.1%), Aphis gossypii Glov. (14.1%) and Zonocerus variegatus Gestro(7.99%) were the four prominent insect pests, while Ladybird beetle larva of Harmoni axyridis (2.3%) and praying mantis Stagmonantis crolina (1.4) were the main predators encountered. Mean percentage of plants attacked and yield losses were significantly (P<0.05) lower in communities with a high percentage of farmers utilizing cultural control methods. A higher percentage of the farmers were females. Farmers in Edem, Eha-Alumona, Lejja, Alor-Uno and Ibagwa-Agu in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State therefore experience enormous economic loss in yellow pepper cultivation from the infestation of insect pests. Communities with a high percentage of farmers practicing cultural control methods had fewer plants attacked, while the predators were also more abundant. Further research is needed to ascertain the efficacy of these cultural methods.