Identification Of Plum Curculio Damage On Peaches:
The first thing that must be noted is that there are two types of damage on peach trees. The first type is caused by the sapwood of the tree being damaged. This kind of damage will cause the fruit to fall off prematurely and it may even result in death if left untreated.
The second type of damage is caused by the bark or other parts of the tree being damaged. These kinds of damages will not kill the peach tree but they might make it less productive. The most common form of damage from these kinds of attacks is when the branches become bent and twisted.
Plum Curculio Spray Attacks:
If you have ever seen a plume of smoke coming out of a plum curculio trap, then you would know that it is indeed a spray attack. When the sapwood of the tree is attacked, the sapwood will release its juices which will flow down into the trunk and eventually drip onto the ground where it can be collected by birds.
This kind of spray attack will normally result in a small puddle of sap (highly flammable). These kinds of attacks are more common when you have several plum curculios living in the same area. This is due to the fact that each one will be targeting a specific tree.
When they all mature then they spread out and target the entire orchard.
In order to prevent a potential fire hazard, it is a good idea to collect every damaged piece of fruit that falls to the ground. This should be done on a regular basis, especially if you see smoke coming from the traps. The puddles of sap will also dry up after some time, this means that there will no longer be a flammable substance around for an extended period of time.
Plum Curculios In General:
The plum curculio is a type of weevil and it is known to destroy a number of different types of fruits. The most common attack is on plums and peaches but it has also infested apricots, apples, and even pomegranates. They are mostly found in areas where there is a high level of moisture or humidity.
This means that they thrive in the wild as well as urban or suburban areas.
They also have a nasty habit of living in the soil near the tree that they are infesting. This means that you will not find them on the tree itself. It also makes it more difficult to find and destroy their eggs or larvae.
This is why they can do a lot of damage before you even realize that there is a problem.
The adult curculios are small brownish red weevils. They are normally no more than 1/10th of an inch long. They also have small hairs protruding from their body which helps with their camouflage.
Removing The Soil:
The first step in to getting rid of these pests is to remove the top layer of soil (at least 6 inches down). You should dispose of this soil in an area far from the infested orchard. If you do not have another area to dispose the soil, then you will need to get another load of fresh soil (which can be bought or taken from a park or other open space area).
After the topsoil has been disposed of, it is time to treat the remaining soil with an insecticide. This should eliminate most of the curculios living near the soil. This process can be repeated every couple of weeks in order to ensure that all of the pests have been eliminated.
After you have done this, the last thing is to put down a layer of mulch. The soil will either need to be treated with an insecticide (as described above) or you could put a 4 inch layer of mulch down and leave it for at least a year. This should help prevent any curculios from finding their way back to the orchard.
If you do not have the means to get rid of these little pests, then you can seek the help of a professional. Most county extension offices will be able to tell you who would be best qualified to help you out in your area. These professionals will normally come out and assess the situation before giving you advice on how to proceed.
This is normally free of charge, however some companies may charge for their services (but this will still be cheaper than paying the consequences of having an infestation).
If you do not want to get someone in to deal with the problem, then you can try seeking advice on internet forums. While not as reliable as professional help, it could give you some good ideas on how to proceed with getting rid of these pests.
The main thing is to get rid of the curculios before they do too much damage to your orchard. And if you do not get rid of them now, then they will only become a bigger problem in future.
Sources & references used in this article:
Use of residue profile analysis to identify modes of insecticide activity contributing to control of plum curculio in apples by JC Wise, AB Coombs, C Vandervoort… – Journal of economic …, 2006 – academic.oup.com
Progress in plum curculio management: a review by C Vincent, G Chouinard, SB Hill – Agriculture, ecosystems & environment, 1999 – Elsevier
Monitoring Plum Curculio, Conotrachelus nenuphar (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), Populations in Apple and Peach Orchards in the Mid-Atlantic by TC Leskey, SE Wright – Journal of Economic Entomology, 2004 – academic.oup.com
Ecology and management of plum curculio, Conotrachelus nenuphar [Coleoptera: Curculionidae], in apple orchards by G Racette, G Chouinard, C Vincent, SB Hill – Phytoprotection, 1992 – erudit.org
Adult plum curculio (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) attraction to fruit and conspecific odors by TC Leskey, RJ Prokopy – Annals of the Entomological Society of …, 2001 – academic.oup.com
Bioassay approaches to assessing behavioral responses of plum curculio adults (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) to host fruit odor by RJ Prokopy, SS Cooley, PL Phelan – Journal of Chemical Ecology, 1995 – Springer
Border-row sprays for control of the plum curculio in apple orchards: behavioral study by G Chouinard, SB Hill, C Vincent… – Journal of Economic …, 1992 – academic.oup.com
Response of plum curculio (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) to odor-baited traps near woods by JC Piñero, SE Wright, RJ Prokopy – Journal of Economic …, 2001 – academic.oup.com