Insects boring into my peach tree and peaches - not pictured on web

Asked March 9, 2017, 11:41 PM EST

I am not finding anything that looks exactly like the bug/larva that destroyed all my peaches (white freestone) in 2015. Often there was at least one hole in each peach, sometimew with dark substance that I assumed was juice. Even when the peaches looked fine, they tasted terrible. I was diligent in removing the peaches when they fell, and eventually just picked them all and tossed them. I didn't see the bugs in 2016, but the birds ate my peaches so fast that maybe I just missed them. There is no sap at the base of the tree trunk. Digging down about 6 inches there may be some damage on part of the trunk/root. I didn't observe any wings/flying insects. I've attached a photo of the bug and one of the larva as well as the type of damage to the tree. Please identify the pest and let me know how to treat them. I'm considering Steinernema carpocapsae nematodes and, if this is a good solution, would like to know the time frame. Thanks, Kathie

Montgomery County Maryland

3 Responses

Left photo - We do not see signs of borer damage (no frass). The branches show signs of cankers. A fungus invades dead or severely weakened wood first, then advances into healthier wood. Amber-colored gum (gummosis) often exudes through the bark around these cankers.There is no control other than pruning and if this is in the main trunk this is not possible. All you can do is manage culturally. Avoid pruning before March and avoid excessive fertilization.

Middle photo - looks like possible plant bug damage.

Right photo -. Where did this larvae come from? Was the larvae inside the fruit? At the base of the trunk? We need more information. Here is more information on common problems of stone fruits

The middle picture has 2 bugs of the kind that I observed coming out of the peaches. The picture on the right is of larvae that was inside the fruit. I dug down about 6 inches by the trunk/root - no sap but possibly some damage.

I just pruned the tree yesterday, but it appears that I should further prune - perhaps any removing all branches below the cankers except the main trunk? How extreme can I prune?

The insects in the second photo looks like maybe a sap beetle or plant bug. They do surface feeding. They did not come from inside the fruit.
The larvae may be plum curculio or oriental fruit moth. We cannot say for sure which one. Look at our website for more information. You will have to decide if you want to spray to prevent. See General Recommendations and the Va Tech Spray Schedule

You can wait and see what happens with the tree this year before you do any more pruning. If there is dieback then you will have to decide.
Make sure mulch is no thicker than several inches and keep away from the base of the trunk.
Fruit trees especially Peach trees are prone to several insect and disease issues and eventually require a spray schedule for control. You have to identify and know what you are spraying for.
If you intend to grow organically, start out with small fruits such as blueberry and blackberry.