Peach Tree Borer Control: How to Identify, Prevent and Get Rid of Peach Tree Borers

The peach tree borer or Synanthedon exitiosa is a pest that belongs to the family of moths and native from North America. During its immature stages, it can cause serious damage to its host tree, affecting its overall health and crop yield. To prevent devastating loss and to protect the plants from severe damages, it is critical to be familiar with how to get rid of peach tree borers.

During the egg stage, they are flat and disk-shaped, with an average length of .5 millimeters. They are found either individually or in small clusters. The larva, on the other hand, has cream or white color with an approximate length of 38 millimeters. The head is usually brown and it has three pairs of legs. When they transform into an adult after the pupation stage, meanwhile, the color becomes dark blue and they develop clear wings. They have a wingspan that is about 1.25 inch. The female peach tree borer is generally bigger than the male.

Peach Tree Borer

Adult Peach Tree Borer Have a Wingspan

Peach Tree Borer’s Habitat

The habitat of the peach tree borer will depend on its specific stage of development. When they are eggs, you will find them on the base or trunk of their host tree. It will take about ten days before the eggs will hatch. The larvae will crawl to the tree and will find an open bark where it will stay during the winter. It will construct its cocoon. Once they grow into adults, on the other hand, they will fly during the daytime. Most of their activity will take place from 10 am to 2 pm. They are common during the warm weather.

Identifying Peach Tree Borer’s Damage

Plants Affected

The most obvious host of this pest is a peach tree. They are also common in different varieties of plants that bear fruit, including apricot, nectarine, cherry, prune, and plum.

Symptoms

Below are some of the most common tell-tale signs that peach tree borers are present:

  • One of the most common symptoms of peach tree borer damage is the disappearance or peeling of the bark. This is an indication that they were already able to enter the tree.
  • Overall, the tree where the peach tree borer lives will also demonstrate a significant decline in health, especially the bark and the trunks. They will appear dry and lacking vigor. It prevents the transfer of water and nutrients to the other parts of the tree, which is why its which will show negative impacts on its overall health.
  • The appearance of gum-like sap, which is technically known as sap, is also another indication of the presence of the pest. It will appear wet and sticky.

Results of Infestation

The larval stage of the peach tree borer is the most destructive. It feeds on the bark of the host tree, and hence, it affects the cambium tissue. This is the layer of cells in between the wood and the bark. Most of the damages are evident in the trunk. Younger trees are more susceptible to infestation. With extensive larval feeding, it will be unable to receive the nutrients that are necessary for survival, and hence, killing the tree before it reaches maturity. The injury will also lessen the vigor of the plant, making it more susceptible to diseases and injury from other pests. Eventually, if the damage is too severe for the tree to handle, it will die.

Peach Tree Borer Damage

Peach Tree Borer Feeding Damage to Crown Area of Host

How to Get Rid of Peach Tree Borer

Natural and Organic Solutions

To eliminate peach tree borers without worrying about safety and toxicity, the following are some of the solutions that will deliver a high level of effectiveness.

  • Pheromone trapping can prove to be promising. This targets male peach tree borer. The trap will emit a scent that is similar to the smell of the female peach tree borers. This is also a good way to monitor their presence, providing you with an idea if it is about time to resort to more effective methods.
  • Biological controls will also deliver a high rate of success. You can introduce natural predators in the area where there are trees affected by the pest. You have the option to purchase these predators or you can also make the environment more attractive for them, such as through growing flowering trees. Some of the natural enemies of peach tree borers include parasitic nematodes and braconid wasps. The good thing about them is that they target only the pest and not insects that do not pose any harm. It will also be good to have birds, such as woodpeckers, which will eat the larvae.
  • As an alternative to chemical pesticides, there are also natural sprays that you can use. One of the best would be a spray that makes use of citrus extract. Spraying it on the bark will prevent the adults from laying their eggs. If they are already in their larval stage, however, it will be too late. Using an organic neem oil is also effective for neutralizing the eggs.
  • Another method that will work is the use of Bacillus thuringiensis. The latter is a soil bacteria that will kill the larvae, preventing it from causing damage to the host plants. Make sure to first clear the frass from the holes where you will spray it.

Chemical Solutions

Despite the apparent toxicity of chemical solutions for controlling peach tree borer, it remains to be a popular solution, especially in large plantations and when the infestation is severe. With this, some of the most popular chemical sprays include Endosulfan, Asana XL, and Warrior. To make them effective, it is important to spray directly on the bark of the tree and be sure to cover the entire area. Pay attention to the instructions from the manufacturer, especially with regards to the best time to spray.

How to Prevent Peach Tree Borer

To prevent heavy damage, it is important to pay attention to a variety of preventive measures, which needs to be executed as early as possible. Before the eggs hatch, you already need to be in full control, which will eliminate the risks that the larvae can bring to the host trees. Keeping the area clean is one of the best things to do. Also, be sure to monitor their presence so that you will know when it is time to act.

There are some preventive sprays that you can use, but the problem is that they yield a low level of effectiveness. This is because the larvae are hard to access when they are already under the bark.

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