Can White Wash Combat Peach Tree Borers?


I’m in the southeast part of NY and absolutely detest peach tree borers—they’re the reason I lost peach and cherry trees in my yard. I’m wondering if whitewash could help control peach tree borers. Would it also be wise to add a bit of insecticide, like permethrin or esfenvalerate, assuming it’s legal?


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Sounds like a good plan. Why would it be ilegal?

How long do you expect the insecticide to remain active after you paint it on?

I’m not certain. Would this be considered ‘off-label’ use? Typically, the product label states: 'It is a violation of Federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.

I’m hoping for season-long protection, so we’d only need to apply whitewash at the beginning of the season. Assuming the residual effect lasts 30 days and considering the chemical’s half-life, could we use an 8x concentration in the whitewash to extend protection for 120 days? I’m considering painting it on rather than spraying to use a minimal amount of paint and chemicals.

Also can white color actually deter Peach Tree Borers?

If your not selling the products no one is comming after you. Spreading and sticking agents dont modify the usage. If permethren can be used on the produce your selling assuming your selling them your sticking agent is not going to matter.

White latex paint has bee used for years to prevent sunscald/sunburn damage. A damaged tree is going to attract more pests, if it repels i dont know.


Whiteness in itself, likely not. Our lime white-washed apple had a borer in and out 2 months after we applied the lime wash.

Unless there is something else in the paint or it is a thick layer, I would not bet against the borer smelling the sap (or whatever they understand as “tasty peach”) and chewing/scraping through a thin layer of paint to get in.

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Interesting, I plan to use 50% diluted white latex paint with added chemicals.

I’ve tried spraying Spinosad on the trunk before. Maybe I wasn’t doing it frequently enough, or perhaps the timing was off. Since it’s organic, it seems to have a short residual effect, lasting about a week or possibly none at all?

Whitewash per se won’t do anything I don’t think. It’s just a thin coat they can bore right through. The insecticide will help though. You can also use a higher concentration since it is only the trunk bottoms right by the soil line. I use pure neem with no dilution and it largely solves the problem. But it needs to be applied when the borers are in flight.


Thanks, Scott.

Whitewash per se won’t do anything I don’t think.

Alas, I hoped that changing the color might lessen their attraction by interfering with their vision

I use pure neem with no dilution and it largely solves the problem. But it needs to be applied when the borers are in flight.

Yes, I’ve tried pure neem oil before, but I think my timing was off. Is there a way to get the timing right without using a pheromone trap? My ambitious goal is to achieve season-long protection. I really can’t stand them.

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Do one round in late May or early June and another in mid July. That should cover it. For me I see the moths first in late May.


This past week I had some gumming (sap come out and harden) on my two year old cherry tree.

Some members assumed it is borer damage, but I don’t see any holes and don’t know since I have no experience with them.

But based on what you say above is it still too early for borers to be out???

I am in zone 6b in central Kentucky, and we just had our last frost of the year I would say one week ago.

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I posted this elsewhere, but it could be tried here. I wrapped the lower trunk of my peach tree with old, used floating row cover material (several layers) from the root zone, below the soil line, to about a foot above the soil line. I think that this is worth experimenting with; it should provide protection for several years without the use of any chemicals. The cloth is kept in place with thin wire wrapped around it and the ends connected loosely to allow expansion. However, I just started this last year; so, I’m not sure how it will work out.


Your confidence in the efficacy of neem seems absolute. If it works so well for PTB I would expect it to have equal ability to control a wide range of insects. What puzzles me is how little research I can find on overall efficacy of neem for insect control- organic food production is such a big business that even our ag universities now engage in research on materials that are said to be useful in its production.

I realize that synthetic materials that are patented by the big corporations that manufacture them get the lion’s share of research funding, but neem has been available and known for a very long time, and yet I cannot find significant research on its ability to control borers of any kind besides the below link from Pakistan.

I certainly respect your anecdotal observations as much as anyone who contributes to this forum, but the lack of researched corroboration puzzles me a bit.

I did find this- which does suggest pretty good results when mixed with a Bordeaux solution.

This is a pretty good summary of the current state of research. It also makes clear that all neem products are not equal and it seems like it might be hard to know what to buy. What do you use?

Did you actually read my post, or did you just see the word neem in it? I am using 100% neem painted on, not some highly diluted spray. That is thousands of times more concentrated than a spray. I have also been doing nothing else for ten years to control borers, and it works - I have almost no borers.

I think neem is a big waste of money as it’s just an expensive horticultural oil, except for controlling peach tree borer. I in fact discovered how well it worked on borers because I had some which I was not using as I concluded it was useless, so just for kicks I thought I would see what borers thought of it.


I think peach tree borer larvae can survive the winter under the bark and become active again when the weather warms up. That occurred with a few of my cherry and peach trees.


Yes that is in fact how they overwinter, as larvae in the roots. If it warms up they will eat and they will stop when it gets cold again. They tend to be lower down when it is colder and more toward the surface when it is warmer.