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Peach Tree Borers

Peach tree borers are serious pests of "stone fruit" trees, such as peaches, cherries, nectarines, apricots and plums. Adult peach tree borers don't harm trees directly; these moths simply lay eggs on stone fruit tree trunks. Damage comes when the moth eggs hatch and new caterpillar larvae travel down trunks and burrow into tree bases and roots, disrupting the flow of water and nutrients through the trees. Infestations of these trunk-boring caterpillars can kill stone fruit trees.

Peach Tree Borer Identification: Adult female and male peach tree borers differ in appearance. The female moths have steely blue-black bodies, one or two orange abdominal bands, and two wing sets that span more than 1 inch. Their front wings are dark, but their rear wings are clear. The male moths are smaller, thinner and have two sets of clear wings. Often mistaken for wasps, they have several narrow yellow bands around their blue-black abdomens. The trunk-boring caterpillar larvae have dark brown heads and creamy bodies that measure about 1 1/4 inches long.

Signs/Damage of Peach Tree Borers: Unlike nighttime moths, peach tree borer adults are active during daytime hours. Watch for brightly banded females on stone fruit tree trunks in late spring and early summer. Reddish-brown eggs on the lower part of the trunk indicate larvae will hatch soon. Once larvae bore into a tree, a gummy, reddish-brown substance oozes from the wounds. Leaves and branches of affected trees wilt in mid to late summer as the caterpillars continue to bore and feed. Severely infested trees may die.

Controlling Peach Tree Borers: Effective peach tree borer control focuses on reaching larvae before they bore into trees. Treat tree trunks with preventive sprays beginning in late spring to target larvae as they hatch and travel down the trunk to bore. Once boring begins, larvae are protected within the tree, so timely, proactive treatment is essential.

GardenTech® brand offers two highly effective products to kill peach tree borers and up to 500 other insect pests by contact and keep protecting for up to three months. These products can treat stone fruit trees up to 14 days before harvest:

  • Sevin® Insect Killer Concentrate, used with a standard pump-style sprayer, simplifies thorough coverage of stone fruit tree trunks. Use the convenient measuring cup to measure concentrate into your sprayer. Then add water, mix well and spray all trunk surfaces thoroughly.
  • Sevin® Insect Killer Ready to Spray attaches to a regular garden hose to measure and mix automatically as you spray. Spray all trunk surfaces thoroughly to kill trunk-boring larvae by contact before they can damage trees.

Tip: Peach tree borers often enter tree trunks through existing wounds such as cankers, pruning wounds or lawn mower and weed whip injuries. When treating, pay special attention to these potential entry sites.

Always read product labels and follow the instructions carefully, including guidelines for pre-harvest intervals for edible crops.

GardenTech is a registered trademark of Gulfstream Home and Garden, Inc.

Sevin is a registered trademark of Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc.

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