Asked on May 19, 2014

Something is eating my jalapeno plant

I have absolutely no idea what though. I see no bugs on the plant. It's just one out of three plants, too. The poor thing is ate down to the stem, with just a few leaves remaining. I took it inside, but how do I treat pests when I don't know what the pest is?
I'm in Roswell, NM (Chihuahuan desert). There aren't critters around that might eat it, as far as I know, and it's inside a 5' chain link fenced yard "guarded" by 4 dogs anyway. It is just one jalapeno plant - the other three don't have a nibble on them.
I don't use pesticides unless I absolutely have to, but I also can't have my plants eaten down to nubs because something thinks it's tasty.
Any suggestions on what to do when a mystery bug is eating your plants?
  6 answers
  • Since you cannot see any bugs it could very well be a bird eating it. I know sometimes here crows will attack something if they think it looks scrumptious. You could give your plants a spray with soapy water (ivory works great) and just take the precaution for simple pests.
    • See 1 previous
    • @Stephanie Volkert if it is only one plant I am guessing it is a varmint or bird. I had squirrel who like to dig in my cilantro but left my rosemary alone. at least it is only eating 1 plant!
  • Sally Roesner Fuhr Sally Roesner Fuhr on May 19, 2014
    Slugs work only at night. You'll need a flash light to figure this out.
    • Stephanie Volkert Stephanie Volkert on May 19, 2014
      @Sally Roesner Fuhr I don't know how a slug would get to the plant unless it was in the bag of potting mix, or already in the plant's soil when I bought it. Which I certainly can't rule out. I hadn't even considered slugs. They generally aren't found around here except near water, such as water features in yards or parks or in yards that are watered frequently, and that's definitely not my dirt lot lol.
  • Ellen Dunlap Ellen Dunlap on May 19, 2014
    spray plants with water and dish soap.
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on May 20, 2014
    To test for whether it is some critter eating the plant, try a garlic- or hot-pepper based spray and see if that acts as a deterrent.
  • Sekula Family Farms Sekula Family Farms on May 22, 2014
    I would definitely do the soapy water spray and if that does not work try Douglas's suggestion with the hot pepper spray.
  • Sekula Family Farms Sekula Family Farms on May 22, 2014
    Do you have a photo of the plant?