Peach Tree Borer
The peach tree borer (Pterocarya destructor) was first discovered in California in 1876. Since then it has spread throughout the United States and Canada. There are over 100 species of Pterocaridae beetles that feed exclusively on peaches.
They have been known to cause millions of dollars worth of damage in the U.S. alone each year. While there are several methods used to kill these pests, none are completely effective. One method is using pesticides, which is expensive and requires frequent application. Another method is using traps, but they require time and effort to set up and maintain, making them less cost-effective than spraying with chemicals or trapping with nets and baited hooks. A third option is to use natural predators such as ladybugs and lacewings to keep peaches from being attacked by these insects. However, ladybirds do not live in the trees where the peach borer lays its eggs; they only lay their eggs on other plants. Ladybird populations are low in most parts of North America, so ladybug control efforts will not work against this pest unless you can get them into the trees where the peaches are located.
Peach Tree Borer Trap
The best option is to control peaches by trapping and killing peach tree borers with a peach tree borer trap. The traps work by attracting the wasps using an attractant such as a pheromone or some other substance that they find attractive. Once the wasps are in the trap, they fall into a container of insecticide, where they eventually die.
This gives you a short time to dispose of the dead wasps and re-bait the trap before more arrive. A good peach tree borer trap should be easy to use, re-set, and re-bait. It should also be durable enough to last at least one season. There are many different styles of traps available, including pheromone traps, vibrating traps, and light traps.
A pheromone trap may be the best way to go with this pest. Pheromones are secreted by living things for the purpose of communication. The female peach tree borer releases a pheromone when she lays her eggs; male peach tree borers are attracted to this pheromone and seek out whatever object is releasing it.
A pheromone trap can lure the male borers into a trap without any additional training.
Peach Tree Borer Pheromone Trap
The least expensive and least effective trap is a light trap. These traps use a bright light to attract the male wasps. Once they are in the light, they find that they can’t escape and eventually die in the trap.
While this trap is inexpensive, it is hard to position correctly to capture the male wasps and still be able to tell if it is on or off. The light attracts moths, butterflies, and other insects that you don’t want to kill.
A vibrating trap uses a powerful magnet connected to a generator on one side of a metal sheet. The other side has a metal strip attached to an antenna that wobbles when the magnet shakes. Male peach tree borers are attracted to the vibration of the antenna, so they crawl over to it.
They are then drawn to the magnet and get stuck to it when the magnet shakes, which is why they are called glue boards. This trap has the advantage of being easy to tell if it is on or off simply by touching the metal sheet to see if the antenna is wobbling. The disadvantage is that the glue board can only capture a few wasps before the glue becomes ineffective, and you have to manually dispose of the dead insects. There is also concern about secondary poisoning if a bird or other small animal eats one of the wasps stuck to the trap.
The best traps are pheromone traps. These use a lure to attract the male peach tree borer wasps. They capture the male wasps before they can find your peaches.
A number of pheromone traps are available to attract moths and other insects, and some of those can be used to capture the male peach tree borer wasps. The best ones use a sticky glue board like a traditional moth trap; the male wasps get stuck on the board when they go after the pheromone lure.
Sources & references used in this article:
Sex attractants: A new warning system to time clearwing borer control practices by DG Nielsen, FF Purrington – Ornamental Plants-1978: A Summary of …, 1978 – kb.osu.edu
Lesser peachtree borer by D Johnson, T Cottrell, D Horton – … peach growers’ handbook. GES …, 2005 – researchgate.net
Laboratory rearing of the peach tree borer and notes on its biology by EH Smith – Journal of economic entomology, 1965 – academic.oup.com
Extraction and field bioassay of the sex pheromone of the lesser peachtree borer by CE Yonce, JH Tumlinson, CR Gentry… – Environmental …, 1974 – academic.oup.com
Sex pheromone mediated behavior and biology of the peachtree borer, Synanthedon exitiosa (Say) by MW Barry – 1978 – etd.ohiolink.edu
Natural sex attractant of the lesser peach tree borer by ML Cleveland, LL Murdock – Journal of Economic Entomology, 1964 – academic.oup.com
Effect of pheromone dispenser density on timing and duration of approaches by peachtree borer by EN Cory – 1913 – Maryland Agricultural Experiment …
Mass Trapping of Male Lesser Peachtree Borer Moths with Virgin-Female Traps on Washington Island, Wisconsin, 19702 by LAF Teixeira, MJ Grieshop, LJ Gut – Journal of chemical ecology, 2010 – Springer