Flying Insect Infestation in Small Orchard

Asked August 27, 2018, 6:21 PM EDT

I'm hoping you can help me with a problem that has been developing over the coarse of the Summer and is right now coming to a head. I have a small orchard of 24 trees. It's a mixed bag of trees including apple, pear, plum, Fig, Paw Paw, and Peach. The Japanese Beetles weren't too bad this year, but a new and unknown pest has made a grand entrance onto the scene. I've attached a picture of it. It looks like some kind of a moth? It likes to get into any of the fruit that may be ripe, or fallen off of the tree, and can make a real mess of things. It started with some of the plums that were infected with a brown rot. They had a field day with that tree and just about wiped out what little fruit escaped the rot. They are also making quite a mess of my Concord Grapes on an arbor. They've now moved over to some of the peach trees again, and are also going after my Fig trees. What can I do to stop the onslaught? Anything? I'm not licensed to use anything other than over the counter pesticides, and since a lot of this fruit is close to harvest I think I'm in a real though spot. I try to keep the ground around the trees clear of any overripe fruit that may have fallen off of the trees, but other than that....I just don't know what to do to stop these rascals. I hope you have some helpful suggestion to offer??? Thanks for your time and assistance. Bob Gatarz (Harpers Ferry)

Frederick County Maryland insect or spider id hackberry butterfly

1 Response

This is a hackberry butterfly (Asterocampa celtis). In the caterpillar stage, these insects feed on hackberry trees. The adult butterflies like to feed on rotten fruit for the sugar. These are not the cause of the problems in your various fruit plants. Do you follow a spray treatment program to manage brown rot and other common fruit diseases? Many tree fruits and grapes are susceptible to disease pressures in our climate. We highly recommend that you consult the Virginia Tech Home Fruit Preventative Spray Schedule for apples, pears, plums, and grapes. You can find a link to the guide here:

In addition, we have a lot of information on our website about common problems with fruits and what you can do to grow a small orchard successfully.