How you can Establish and Management 9 Widespread Plum Pests


A part of what I like about my plum bushes is that I don’t have to fret about them like I do lots of my different fruit bushes.

Don’t get me fallacious, I like peaches and apples, however they certain are high-maintenance compared to plums. However even undemanding plum bushes may be affected by pests at times.

Generally, these pests are nothing greater than a nuisance. Different instances, they’ll threaten the lifetime of the plum tree.

A close up horizontal image of ripe plums growing on the tree pictured in light sunshine on a soft focus background.

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All plum bushes are inclined to the next 9 pests, however harassed bushes are much more prone to endure unwell results.

So it’s vital to do your finest to maintain your plum bushes pleased. Should you want a primer about how you can take care of plum bushes, learn our information.

You may also need to go over our information to how and when to spray plums for pests.

Then, come again right here, and we’ll discuss concerning the creepy crawlies which are on the market eyeing your bushes.

Right here is the “most undesirable” checklist that we’ll be going over:

Our first plum pest is itty-bitty, however don’t let that idiot you. They will trigger large issues.

1. Drosophila

The noticed wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) feeds on the fruits of grapes, stone fruits, together with plums, and brambles.

The adults are little fruit flies, however in contrast to those who devour overripe fruits in your countertop, these pests assault fruit that’s simply ripe and nonetheless on the plant.

A close up horizontal image of a small Drosophila suzukii in high magnification pictured on a soft focus background.

The adults lay their eggs contained in the fruit, so not solely will there be feeding marks on the pores and skin of the plums, however you would possibly take a chunk and get a mouthful of larvae. I don’t know what extra motivation it is advisable attempt to keep away from them.

These pests seem in the summertime to feed and breed on plums, after which overwinter as adults to start out the cycle over once more.

They gained’t lay their eggs in wholesome plums, however they’ll search for the tiniest gap made by thrips, aphids, or mechanical injury, and that’s after they strike. The feminine lays her eggs, on the identical time injecting a micro organism within the Acetobacter genus that causes the fruit to rot.

Even when this doesn’t trigger the plum to rot, it’s possible her larvae are feeding and thriving in there.

Should you discover any broken plums, take away them instantly to disclaim the pests a spot to put their eggs. You too can put netting, tunnels, or cloths over your tree or shrub if it’s sufficiently small.

You too can use a pesticide, however make certain to use it when the pollinators aren’t out and about – a night on a peaceful day is the perfect time to reduce affect on helpful bugs.

Take into account that pesticide purposes will solely deal with the adults, not any larvae already current within the fruit.

Spinosad and pyrethrins each work to kill the adults. For efficient management, I like to recommend alternating between two merchandise and making use of each two weeks till the tip of August. These pests reproduce rapidly, so it is advisable keep on high of them.

Traps are helpful each for monitoring and management of pest populations. Put out a number of traps close to your plum bushes within the late spring and regulate what number of pests you’re gathering.

Should you appear to be trapping increasingly more, it’s time to interrupt out the pesticides.

A close up of a Scentry SWD Trap pictured on a white background.

Scentry Lure Entice

Seize a equipment, which incorporates each a lure and lure, at Arbico Organics in packs of 1 or two. You too can purchase alternative traps and lures in case you solely want one aspect.

2. Flatheaded Borers

Borers generally is a problematic pest in plums.

Pacific (Chrysobothris mali) and apple-tree flatheaded borers (C. femorata) look related as adults, the beetles measuring about half to a few quarters of an inch lengthy, with olive-green, darkish grey, brown, and bronze coloring, and flattened heads.

The larval type has a flat and swollen thorax and a flattened head.

Each the larvae and the adults stay and overwinter on the plum tree, although they do transfer out and in of the soil surrounding the planting space.

They sometimes goal harassed bushes, and the adults eat by the bark and into the sapwood, the place they disturb the phloem, or the straw-like constructions that transfer water within the tree.

A heavy infestation can utterly girdle branches or trunks. These pests have a tendency to hang around on the sunniest facet of bushes, so search for coloured depressions and girdled branches on these areas first.

The signs can look much like injury from different borer species, with frass-filled holes, discolored depressions, and weeping sap. Additionally, you will see useless branches and unfastened bark.

Woodpeckers love these pests and carpenter ants eat the larvae. However if you’re dealing with a big infestation, counting on pure predators isn’t sufficient.

Step one is to do what you possibly can to maintain your plum tree wholesome. Keep in mind, these pests are drawn to weak or harassed specimens as a result of they’ll’t feed on bushes which have wholesome, rising tissue stuffed with sap.

You must also clear up any weeds and particles from round your plum bushes to show the larvae and beetles and deprive them of overwintering websites.

You too can use sticky traps wrapped across the trunk to catch any adults or larvae climbing up or down the trunk.

A close up of a blue roll trap isolated on a white background.

Sticky Blue Adhesive

You possibly can seize a roll of sticky blue adhesive on 4, seven, or 11-foot widths and 328-foot lengths at Arbico Organics.

Look at the trunk for holes and use a knife to chop away a bit little bit of the bark on the space. Then, use a wire to stab and take away the larvae.

There isn’t an efficient insecticide remedy for the larvae as soon as they get beneath the bark.

In case your plum tree is closely infested and has a number of useless or dying branches, there isn’t a lot you are able to do.

You possibly can strive eradicating essentially the most infested branches, nevertheless it’s most likely higher to only take away the specimen completely.

3. Peach Twig Borer

Peach twig borers (Anarsia lineatella) aren’t tremendous frequent, and they could be a ache within the butt some years and no large deal in others.

The adults are moths with mottled grey and brown wings, however they aren’t those that do the injury.

A close up of peach twig borer on the surface of a leaf.
Photograph credit score: H. Audemard, INRA, Montfavet, Bugwood.org

The white larvae emerge within the spring from their nests on the plum bushes to tunnel into the younger, rising shoot ideas. As they age, they flip darkish brown with white bands and are half an inch lengthy.

The twigs they tunnel into ultimately die, and ooze sap out of the information.

Then, the larvae pupate, adults emerge, and the cycle continues with a second technology. This time, the larvae tunnel into the growing fruit, coming into close to the stem.

A close up vertical image of the damage done by peach twig borers.

Because the larvae change into energetic primarily based on environmental temperature modifications, you’ll want to speak to your native extension workplace to determine when to deal with your vegetation.

To manage this plum pest, spray your bushes with dormant oil earlier than they bud out within the late winter or early spring. This can smother a number of the overwintering larvae.

Then, seize a product that accommodates the helpful micro organism Bacillus thuringiensis v. kurstaki (Btk).

A close up of a bottle of Bonide Thuricide isolated on a white background.

Bonide Thuricide

One thing like Bonide’s Thuricide is an effective choice and may be bought at Arbico Organics in quart or gallon ready-to-use or eight- or 16-ounce focus.

Spray based on the schedule prompt by your native extension.

You possibly can study extra about peach twig borers in our information.

4. Peach Moth

The peach moth (Grapholita molesta), which additionally goes by the outdated epithet oriental fruit moth, has change into an more and more important drawback in North America in recent times.

They will produce as much as six generations per yr, which suggests a reasonably regular infestation of the damaging larvae.

The adults are grey night-flying moths about half an inch lengthy, however as soon as once more it’s the larvae that trigger all the issues. They’re white with a black heads and ultimately mature to about half an inch lengthy with pink our bodies and brown heads.

The larvae bore into the shoots of the plum tree and also will feed on the fruit, coming into on the stem finish or in protected areas equivalent to the place two fruits contact – you probably did bear in mind to skinny your plums, proper?

Should you’ve ever handled codling moths on apples, the injury seems the identical in your plums.

Past the injury they do to the fruit, infested twigs may even have wilted leaves together with a gummy sap oozing out.

The plum tree responds by sending out lateral shoots beneath the place the larvae stopped tunneling, which suggests a long-term infestation can lead to some surprisingly bushy bushes.

Your native extension workplace will calculate the variety of diploma hours between 45 and 90°F, which is when the larvae develop. You possibly can attain out to them to seek out out when that is and when to start out treating your plum tree.

Business orchards depend on sprayable pheromones to disrupt the breeding section and have nice success, nevertheless it solely works on the adults, not the larvae.

5. Peachtree Borers

The larger peachtree or clearwing borer (Synanthedon exitiosa) is the commonest and harmful borer to affect plums, and so they additionally assault almonds, apricots, cherries, nectarines, and peaches.

It is a nasty pest to have in your backyard.

A close up horizontal image of a peachtree borer on a pink flower pictured on a soft focus background.

The adults are moths with translucent wings that stretch as much as an inch and 1 / 4 when open, and metal blue our bodies with an orange band. They’re native to North America.

The females lay as much as 600 eggs every in late spring and in every week or so the eggs hatch and the reddish-brown to pale white larvae emerge. They tunnel by the bark close to the soil degree and into the cambium layer.

Once they’re current, you’ll see dying branches and unfastened bark on the soil degree. Leaves may also flip yellow and progress may be stunted.

You’ll usually discover sawdust-like frass, maybe together with oozing sap popping out of the bore holes. Preserve a watch out for pupal instances across the base of the tree, too.

It helps to maintain any vegetation, whether or not cultivated or weeds, away from the bottom of the plum bushes.

You’re going to want a multi-pronged strategy to handle a peachtree borer infestation. The primary is to make use of helpful nematodes.

Each Steinernema carpocapsae and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora are efficient in opposition to the larvae.

A close up horizontal image of the packaging of NemAttack Beneficial Nematodes isolated on a white background.

NemAttack Useful Nematodes

Seize a combo pack of 10, 50, 250, or 500 million of those useful roundworms from Arbico Organics, add water, and apply the combo to the trunk of your plum tree.

You actually need to work it into the cracks and openings within the trunk.

Subsequent, use an insecticide to kill the eggs. You’ll want a product that accommodates spinosad or pyrethrins and apply it each ten days beginning in the summertime.

A close up of a bottle of Monterey Garden Insect Spray isolated on a white background.

Monterey Backyard Insect Spray

You will discover eight-ounce, pint, quart, or gallon portions of Monterey Backyard Insect Spray, which accommodates spinosad, at Arbico Organics.

6. Plum Curculio

Growers in western US don’t have to fret concerning the plum curculio (Conotrachelus nenuphar) a lot, however these east of the Rockies must be vigilant.

This darkish brown beetle is a real weevil with an extended snout and it isn’t very giant, staying beneath a 3rd of an inch lengthy, nevertheless it does some critically outsized injury.

The adults hang around underground and in plant particles throughout the winter.

When temperatures heat up within the spring, they crawl or fly up into the tree and begin to feed on the tiny growing fruits.

Because the fruits develop larger, the females poke holes within the pores and skin and lay their eggs. One feminine can lay a whole bunch of eggs. In addition they lay eggs in apples, cherries, peaches, pears, and nectarines.

As soon as the eggs hatch, the grubs get to work. The third-of-an-inch-long white grubs have small brown heads, and so they tunnel into the middle of the fruit to feed.

This feeding not solely renders the fruit inedible, however it may possibly additionally trigger fruit drop.

To deal with these weevils, you as soon as once more have to make use of a multi-pronged strategy. First, lay a tarp down beneath the plum tree and provides it a very good shake.

The beetles don’t have nice grip, in order that they’ll topple out and land on the tarp. Do that within the morning after they’re nonetheless sluggish from the nighttime, and also you’ll have even higher outcomes. Then, fold up the tarp and get rid of the beetles.

It is best to all the time clear up any fallen fruit as a result of they may very well be crammed with eggs or larvae. Additionally, it helps to domesticate the soil beneath the plum bushes within the spring to show any larvae which have fallen to the soil.

Lastly, if this doesn’t tackle the issue, you’ll have to spray repeatedly within the spring when the adults change into energetic however earlier than they’ve an opportunity to put eggs.

The primary spray needs to be utilized when the flower petals fall from the tree. The subsequent needs to be every week later, and the ultimate one every week after that.

Use a product that accommodates pyrethrins or the helpful fungus Beauveria bassiana. Or higher but, each!

A product like BotaniGard Maxx accommodates pyrethrins, that are constructed from chemical compounds present in chrysanthemum flowers which are poisonous to bugs in addition to B. bassiana, which parasitizes pest bugs.

A close up of a bottle of BotaniGard Maxx isolated on a white background.

BotaniGard Maxx

Choose up a quart, gallon, or two-and-a-half gallon at Arbico Organics.

7. San Jose Scale

Whereas different scale species would possibly feed on plums, 9 instances out of 10 it will likely be San Jose scale (Quadraspidiotus perniciosus) that infests your plum bushes.

These pests are oval or disk-shaped and grayish in shade.

The adults are pretty flat and don’t transfer, so that you may not even discover they’re in your tree until you look intently. The cellular yellow crawlers often additionally go unnoticed.

These pests use their sucking mouthparts to feed on bark and twigs, injecting a dangerous toxin as they do.

Giant infestations could cause the tree to lose vigor and produce a decreased harvest or deform the fruit. It could even kill younger or weak specimens.

It’s often the sticky honeydew the pests secrete or the signs on the plum tree equivalent to yellowing foliage, drying shoots, weak progress, or decreased measurement and variety of fruits, that ideas us off that one thing is fallacious.

Should you peel again the bark on inexperienced, pliable branches, you’ll discover purple tissue beneath.

A remedy with dormant oil within the late winter will help suppress populations of this plum pest. You too can prune off closely infested branches.

As soon as the adults mature, they’re coated in a waxy coating that protects them from pesticides, so these are ineffective.

Be taught extra about how you can cope with scale in our information.

8. Speckled Inexperienced Fruitworm

It’s lime inexperienced and speckled! It’s the speckled inexperienced fruitworm (Orthosia hibisci).

These pests overwinter within the soil and are energetic within the spring, when the larvae emerge and feed on leaves, flowers, and the growing fruit, leaving ragged holes and dents.

To determine these pests, maintain a shallow tray or piece of paper beneath the plum tree and shake the limb. They’ll fall proper off.

Spray a product containing spinosad or Bacillus thuringiensis when the fruit begins growing. Both product is extremely efficient in opposition to these soft-bodied worms.

9. Western Flower Thrips

These tiny critters (Frankliniella occidentalis) are extra of a nuisance than a significant drawback, although they’ll unfold illnesses that trigger a lot larger points.

Nonetheless, in giant numbers, they’ll trigger severe injury to the fruits, particularly in thin-skinned cultivars.

A close up horizontal image of a thrips insect in high magnification.

The yellowish-brown bugs are about 0.05 of an inch lengthy with clear wings, although you’ll should get near see them. The immature type seems the identical however lacks wings.

These sap-sucking plum pests feed on the flowers and younger fruit, inflicting scarring on the pores and skin. The feeding may result in deformed fruit.

In contrast to borers, which cover contained in the bark of bushes, and scale, which have a protecting coating, thrips are uncovered, making them simpler to do away with.

Seize your spinosad and apply it totally to the bushes at petal drop. That ought to maintain the adults and any eggs or nymphs.

Be taught extra about how you can cope with thrips in our information.

Cease Pestering Me!

I’ll maintain my fingers crossed that you just by no means expertise plum pests, however because you’re right here, I’m guessing that one thing is visiting your bushes and it’s inflicting concern.

Keep in mind, protecting your bushes wholesome will go a good distance towards protecting pests at bay or serving to them survive an infestation.

A close up horizontal image of clusters of ripe plums on the tree ready for harvest.

Is one thing bugging your bushes? What signs are you seeing? Do you want any extra steerage? Tell us within the feedback part beneath.

And for extra details about rising and caring for plum bushes, learn these guides subsequent:

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