How to scout for peach twig borer in fruit orchards

In a previous post, we discussed the main disease and pest risks in stone fruit orchards. In this post, we will focus on the peach twig borer. To scout fruit orchards for the presence of this moth, you will need to inspect the trees for signs of infestation. The peach twig borer is a small moth that lays its eggs on the branches of apricot, almond, cherry, nectarine, plum, pear, and peach trees. When the eggs hatch, the larvae burrow into the twigs and branches, causing them to die.

To scout for the pest, look for dead or dying twigs or branches on the trees. The larvae of the peach twig borer feed on the sap in the twigs and branches, causing them to wilt and die. If you find any dead or dying twigs, carefully inspect them for the presence of the peach twig borer.

When inspecting the twigs and branches, look for the small, black-headed white larvae of the peach twig borer. These larvae are about 1/4 inch long, and have a distinctive wrinkled appearance. They may be found inside the twigs and branches. As the larvae mature, they change their color to brown.

If you find the peach twig borer in your orchard, you will need to take action to control the infestation. There are several methods for controlling the peach twig borer, including the use of chemical pesticides, cultural controls, and biological controls.

Peach twig borer. Courtesy of Ilia Ustyantsev
Peach twig borer. Courtesy of Ilia Ustyantsev

When should I start scouting for the peach twig borer?

The best time to start scouting for the peach twig borer depends on a number of factors, including the climate and location of the orchard, and the variety and type of trees being grown.

In general, it is best to start scouting for the pest as soon as the trees start to bud in the spring. This is when the adult moths begin to emerge from their overwintering sites and lay their eggs on the branches of the trees. By starting to scout early in the season, you can identify any infestations early and take action to control them before the larvae cause significant damage to the trees.

You should continue to scout for the peach twig borer throughout the growing season, as the moths can lay multiple generations of eggs throughout the summer. Monitoring the trees regularly and taking action to control any infestations that are found can help to prevent significant damage to the orchard.

Using traps to monitor the peach twig borer

There are several types of traps that can be used to catch adult peach twig borers. Some of the most effective include pheromone traps, which use a chemical attractant to lure the moths into the trap, and sticky traps, which use a sticky substance to catch the moths as they fly by.

Pheromone traps are specifically designed to attract the peach twig borer, and they can be an effective way to monitor the population of the moths in your orchard. These traps typically consist of a small container or bag that is filled with a synthetic version of the moth’s pheromone, which is a chemical that the moths use to communicate with each other. When the moths are attracted to the pheromone, they fly into the trap and become stuck.

Sticky traps are another type of trap that can be used to catch adult peach twig borers. These traps consist of a sticky substance, such as a glue-like material, that is applied to a surface, such as a card or strip of paper. When the moths fly by the sticky trap, they become stuck to the surface. Sticky traps can be placed in the orchard to monitor the population of the moths and help to identify any infestations that may be present.

Peach twig borer’s growing degree days model

A growing degree days model is a tool that can be used to predict the development of insects and plants based on temperature. Growing degree days are a measure of heat accumulation over time and can be used to predict when certain events, such as the emergence of insect pests or the flowering of plants, will occur.

At the beginning of the spring, Install pheromone traps and check them weekly. Once the peach twig borer moth was captured, trigger the biofix, and the model would predict when the moth is likely to lay its eggs and when the larvae are likely to emerge. The model will keep you informed regarding the emergence of future generations. This information can help you to plan your pest control efforts and monitor the orchard for signs of infestation.

Monitoring growing degree days helps eliminate the guesswork in determining the time required for control measures. Download Agrio today and make it your growing degree days app. We look forward to seeing you leverage this technology for intelligent and effective pest management in your field. 

In the meantime, as always, we wish you an abundant harvest.