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Ask the Expert Archive

what would be eating squash and bell pepper plants? eats the tops and all is left is the stems and I never see any thing doing it!

If all that is left is the stem of the plant, it is likely an animal versus an insect.  If it were an insect, such as aphids, some of the leaves would still be present and an insect would eat the plant over the course of several days or weeks.  What you are describing sounds very much like a rabbit, mole, vole, deer or groundhog is the culprit.  There are many organic and non-organic scented sprays you can apply to your squash and pepper plants that deter these animals.  They are easily found at your local home and garden or hardware store. 
If you have a sunny spot (receiving at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day) closer to your home, such as on a patio, you might want to think about container planting for your pepper plants.  The animals listed above typically keep a reasonable distance from homes. Sign up for our Gardening How-To Guide for answers to all of your gardening questions, monthly updates, and fun garden projects! We even have a Kid’s Gardening page!
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  1. That’s not true!I went out into my garden this morning and the same that was being described here had occurred with my bell peppers. However, I caught my little culprit in action. I believe its some type of worm, as it resembles a caterpillar. They are green with white lines all over it and little black/brown spots that look like eyes along its body. It also has little suckers on each end and on the bottom to inch along the plants (at least that’s what mine looked like). Luckily, i found him before he started on my last bell pepper. The reason you probably didn’t see him was because they blend in great. Unless you’re looking really closely, you probably won’t find him. Besides that, you might be able to creep up on them. I’m not sure how to kill/ keep them away, so i just picked him off the plant and am going to squish him later this afternoon.

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