Having the opportunity to pick fresh fruit from your own fruit tree is an exciting and rewarding experience. However, many insects enjoy the sweet taste of fruit much like humans do and can cause damage to your harvest during the growing season. It is important to understand the type of insects that affect fruit trees, the best time to spray and the products that can assist you in your efforts to stop these insects from chowing down on your beloved fruit.
Some insects cause more harm than others when it comes to fruit trees. There are insects that may attack the leaves but will leave the fruit unharmed. However, the insects that lay eggs in or near fruit are the ones you must worry about. One of the worst pests is the coddling moth. The coddling moth wreaks havoc on apple and pear trees since its larvae like to burrow into fruit and feed on the interior as it grows. Aphids, scale insects, mites, fruit flies and borers can all cause damage to your fruit trees, so you will want to have a plan in place for spraying.
When to Spray
Most insects can be controlled by applying a dormant oil in late winter or early spring, destroying their eggs before flowers bud. Borers can be treated by spraying endolsulfan to branches and tree trunks in early spring. Timing is critical in controlling the coddling moth to stop infestation on your apple and pear trees. The first spray of insecticides should take place two weeks after 90 percent of the petals have fallen from the tree. Follow up with a second spray two weeks later. This treatment should be repeated in mid-summer when you notice larvae holes appearing on fruit.
There are a variety of products to help control insects from attacking your fruit trees. Products labeled domestic are safe for your home, including carbaryl or sevin, horticultural oils, and natural and synthetic insecticides. Be sure to read the product labels to identify the specific insects that are controlled by that substance.
Be sure to double check your insecticides since many can be harmful to bees. Certain insecticides such as carbaryl, malathion and permethrin can be harmful to bees and harmless insects. Horticultural oils and pyrethrins are low in toxicity and are safer than most other insecticides. Combination sprays for insects and diseases can be used on a similar schedule, but you should continue to spray every 10 days through the summer until it is time to harvest your fruit. To keep spraying at bay, remove all ripe fruit and get rid of any infested and rotted fruit from the ground.
Ace Hardware of Fort Collins has a variety of products for insect and disease control. Stop by or give us a call at 970.223.9273 and speak with our friendly staff today!