How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Spotted wilt virus on peppers

Symptoms on plants infected with spotted wilt virus include overall yellowing (chlorosis), dead spots on leaves or terminal shoots, and general stunting. Fruits show chlorotic spots, red and/or green areas surrounded by yellow halos, and concentric rings that may become necrotic.

Life cycle

Spotted wilt virus is transmitted by various species of thrips. Once thrips nymphs acquire the virus by feeding on infected plants, they will retain the ability to transmit it for the remainder of their lives. Spotted wilt virus can be passed from infected females through the eggs to her offspring. In addition to infecting its insect vectors, spotted wilt has an extremely wide host range among plants, including many weeds as well as crop hosts such as peppers and tomatoes. It is one of the few plant viruses whose host range includes broadleaf and grassy plants (including onions).


Although spotted wilt virus is extremely widespread and very damaging in greenhouses on ornamentals, it is not usually a serious problem in gardens. Control nearby weeds, which are reservoir hosts of the virus and thrips. Destroy infected plants. The use of insecticides to control thrips will not reduce their numbers enough to eliminate virus spread.

Spotted wilt of peppers
Spotted wilt of peppers

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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