The Q&A Archives: Controlling Worms on Fruit Trees

Question: Every year my peaches do not bear mature furit. The tree blooms fine, but around July, it seems there are worms or something in the fruit. The fruit rots and falls off. HELP!!!! What can I do to eliminate this problem? I am ready to cut the tree down and start over. Thank You. Dianne LeMay Newport News, VA

Answer: It sounds as though you are having a problem with the oriental fruit moth. The moth's larvae--a 1/2 inch long "worm" with a white body and brown head--burrow into developing fruit. You will need to formulate a plan for controlling these pests--you want to control them early in the season. Pest control begins with good sanitation. Pick up and destroy any fallen fruit or any fruit "mummies" that hang onto the branches over the winter; rake up leaves. Many home fruit growers need to spray some type of insecticide in the spring for insect probems. There are various types of sprays and traps, from all-purpose "orchard sprays" to sprays targeted to specific pests, such as a variety of BT (a biological control) developed for the oriental fruit moth. Whatever you choose to spray, timing is important--you need to catch the pests as they emerge. The pesticide label should give you this information--read and follow directions carefully. You might contact your local Extension agent; they may have a publication with a spray calendar for home orchards and receommeded traps. Their number is 804/591-4838.

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