Peach Problem

So this is my first year with any sizable peach crop. Not huge as the early bloom and late cold temps thinned them down. On 2/3 of the peaches I am seeing a tiny hole the size of a tooth pick. No sign of any insect in the fruit, even when you open the fruit. But you can see where something bored into the fruit. I assume something laid eggs.

I am not sure where to start on this. Any suggestions on the likely culprits? I am on the East coast, mid Atlantic.

In the past I have sprayed later in the season carbaryl for Japaneses Beetles. I sprayed copper for the first time this year. I had some Bonide Fruit Spray with Captan and carbaryl so I sprayed that today.

What cocktail of chemicals will most likely kill the culprits? Any chance of my infected peaches being edible?

Very disappointing, I still have a lot to learn about growing fruit.

Are you familiar with the plum curculio? If not say hello…!!

Then again I could be wrong. They don’t exist out here in the desert, thankfully.

They leave a crescent shaped mark. If not that shape maybe Oriental fruit moth.

So this is a list of the insecticides I have found so far -

Horticultural Oil
Lambda Cyhalothrin
Neem Oil & Pyrethrins
Imidan 70-W

I am sure each of these has its strengths and weakness - is one more likely to cover a wider variety of peach pests? The imidan is expensive and seems to be a commercial product - not sure that is right for me.

And even coddling moths like peaches. Like Fruitnut said quite a few pests like your peaches including stink bugs.

If you use the search engine ( a magnifying glass symbol on the top right corner of the page,) and search for peach tree problems, you will find tons of responses.

Growing peaches in the east coast, you will have your hands full with pests and diseases.

It could be egg laying but it might just be curc feeding, or both. Both can cause the holes you mention.

Carbaryl is OK, if that’s all you have. It doesn’t have much residual. Permethrin used to available in home owner packaging. It might give you a little more residual.

So I found this link -

It lists all sorts of chemicals that kill plum curculio and some are curative, take out the eggs. Are any of this insecticides available to the consumer other than surround?

Thanks Olpea - I will find Permethrin and give that a shot. Are the peaches ruined?

I really hope we are wrong, but I am with fruitnut in suspecting it is Plum Curculio or Oriental Fruit month. I think so not only because of the hole you describe, but also because it sounds like you hadn’t sprayed any insecticide at all before you saw the damage, and if that is the case then its almost a certainty in our part of the country that those insects are going to damage peaches. In the next few days, keep an eye on them. If you start seeing clear liquid ooze out of the hole then its PC or OFM for sure.

The worse news is that by the time you see the damage, its too late. Reportedly a few sprays are retroactive and can kill the egg after its been laid, but my experience doesn’t bear that out (but Imidan is the only thing I’ve used that is reported to be curative. Actara is reportedly much better for that). Those pesticides you listed are extremely different in lots of ways. For example, the Carbaryl (aka sevin dust) isn’t very good for the aforementioned pests, but is the best thing for japanese beetles. Overall, my favorite one on your list- in terms of fighting OFM and PC, is Imidan 70-W. But its fairly hard to find except online and even then you often have to buy larger quantities than you might need.

I don;t know how bad they are where you live, but here, ofm and pc will destroy every single peach on every single tree in just a couple days after they start laying eggs. So I fear you may have big losses on your hand. Trust me, I lost my whole crop several years while finding out what the enemy was and then using the wrong weapons and/or not often enough. Best of luck!.

It really depends on whether or not they laid eggs or feeding stings. They probably did both. Hopefully they didn’t lay eggs in all the peaches.

I use Actara as a curative for plum curculio. If sprayed soon after the eggs are laid, it will still kill the curc egg inside the fruit. Actara is available to anyone, but like most ag chemicals, it’s packaged for use for several acres. A 30 oz. bottle will treat about 6 acres.

You can get it from Crop Production Services or other places. I even see it listed on Ebay.

I see Ebay also has smaller quantities of Actara, but it’s packaged for Russia.

Be aware Actara is very toxic to bees. I wouldn’t use it except it is so effective against plum curc.

I am fairly certain it is Plum Curculio - I am 90% certain I have seen them on the tree at night. So what program of insecticides do you use to control PM? Out of all the things I have seen the only thing that is made for a backyard gardener is Surround. Evidently you have to start early and apply multiple coats for Surround to be effective.

I have found Imidan 70-W online in 5 lbs quantity and it runs $70 to $90. Seems that you are suppose to use 3/4 of a tablespoon per gallon (if converted properly from the per acre application). 5 lbs would last a long time on the dozen or so peach trees I have, assuming one application is enough. If Imidan 70-W doesn’t degrade over a 3 to 4 year period I would consider it. The other thing I have to consider is I have dogs in the yard - 5 hunting dogs in a kennel and 3 house dogs. None of the kennels are next to the trees but many are within 20 feet of the kennels. I can’t take the chance of spraying something that will kill the dogs.

You were probably typing your post while Olpea typed his, so you may now have seen his answer. Make no mistake, he has forgotten more about peaches than I’ll ever know! I haven’t tried Actara and as good as effective as he makes it sound, I have bee hives so I probably won’t try it.

You are right that Imidan 70-W would last for a very long time, but I think it takes a little more than what you calculated. In case you haven’t seen it, here is a wonderful conversion for several items that only have per-acre amounts on the bottle:

Surround is for organic growers. I admire their efforts and respect their desire not to use chemicals, but unless you are just he__-bent on being purely organic, I STRONGLY suggest you not try surround. You have to reapply it constantly, and even then its effectiveness in areas like ours is very shaky according to most. I really don’t want to suggest that all our organic growers are doomed to failure- they are great people trying to do the right thing and some succeed. But it requires an amazing amount of work and still may not provide protection in areas like yours. Please think and study very carefully before deciding to go with surround as PC protection.

Thanks for the suggestions on Actara and Imidan. I am going to have to pass on Actara, I have neighbors with bee hives and I don’t want to cause them issues. Imidan sounded good until I read you should wear mask while handling it and it comes in waters soluble packets - I guess the packets don’t matter and I guess I can learn the proper way to handle Imidan. I am not an Organic purist - just read that Surround would work if applied multiple times - personally I have never used Surround. I am fairly new to fruit growing :). This maybe a stupid suggestion - could I alternate Carbaryl, Malathion and Permethrin during the April - May time frame (one insecticide every 4 days or so)? I have no idea how long the peaches are at risk to PC.

I must tell you that you are ahead of me in one way at least…you know about the water soluble Imidan packets. When I first got my first big bag of Imidan, it had like 4 of those water soluable packets. Not knowing what they were, I accidentally set one down in a wet area near my hose. Next thing I know, I’ve lost about $25 worth of product because what I thought was a regular plastic bag completely dissolved and the powder all got wet! Live and learn! ha.

Others here know a lot more and are more safety conscious, but I’ve never heard anyone talk about Imidan as being more dangerous/unhealthy risk than most of the other sprays you seem willing to try. And it would sure be a lot easier than spraying those every 4 days.

While PC sort of comes in waves based on their life cycle, peaches are at risk all season long here- from petal fall until harvest! Really, its even worse. Last year I stopped spraying after I picked my peaches, thinking what’s the point. The result was that when they had no fruit to go after, they went after the tips of all my limbs. This caused every single tip on my trees to die (you could pinch them off and find the little PC larvae inside the stem tips). THis, in turn, caused my trees to loose out on a lot of growing time they really needed (sine most of my trees are small and far from mature) and also caused them to be unnecessarily bushy since each dead tip was eventually replaced with TWO new tips- one growing back toward the center of tree which is bad. In short, not spraying my trees sort of screwed them up and/or caused them to not grow as much and as well as they could have. Anyone else had this happen?

Wow, that is a bad case of OFM. We need to give out an award for the grower with the most pest pressure. I think you might win it Cityman.

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It would be hard for me to spray every 4 days - I travel fairly often. How often do you spray Imidan? This was the link that showed 3/4 tsp to a gallon -

I know people probably think I exaggerate my pest pressure, but I honestly do not! When they hit my peaches, they get every single fruit on the tree within a night or two (back before I learned better spray techniques). When I say they bore into and killed every tip, I mean every single tip on my whole tree was flagged- really.

I’ve thought a lot about why my insect pressure seems to be so much worse than others-even in my general area. I’m surrounded by farm land that is all sprayed. Part of me thinks that should kill a lot of insects, but part of my thinks that just means that my property is the only place insects can go to get away from treated areas. I spray some trees, but everyone surrounding me sprays many, many acres- meaning there isn’t a spot that isn’t sprayed except on my land. WHo knows if any of these theories has any impact at all. I also live fairly near a river and low area, where insects probably thrive. Before I came here there were 2 peach trees and 2 apple trees that just produced and then rotted every year without ever being sprayed, so maybe that created a very strong population of fruit tree pests that could live and thrive and reproduce and get really established.

Again, I really wish I knew why its so bad here, but I honestly do think I’ve got it worse than anyone in terms of insect pressure. Just wish we knew why?

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That looks like a good source on the 3/4 tsp per gallon. I’m not sure where scott got the 1 tbl spoon measure, but I trust it. Either way, we are all fairly close. I’m not sure what the Imidan label says, but I spray it every 10-14 days. I don’t think anyone would want to spray every 4 days, so I get what you mean there!

Wow Kevin, you seem to have your share of adversities with yer fruit trees, from herbicide drift, marauding cows, and now ravenous PC even eating your tree tips!

I don’t know why you’d have so much bug pressure, that’s beyond my low level of expertise and experience. Those you mentioned may be true, another might be the winters aren’t cold enough anymore to kill them off? Just throwing that out there.

I’ll give you credit, tho, with sticking with it after so many setbacks. I guess the draw and satisfaction of harvesting your own fruit overcomes the disappointments.

Yes…and don’t get me wrong…I feel like I spend too much time here complaining about my problems and challenges. But the truth is its my favorite hobby I have ever had and I will grow fruit until I die. I don’t talk enough about how much I enjoy coming home from work and spending an hour or more just strolling through my orchard and studying every tree and all the peace and enjoyment I get from the time I spend out there fooling with my trees. Nor do I talk enough about the incredible feeling of satisfaction I get from picking a nice piece of fruit-especially when it is something people say is hard or impossible to grow here. I should also talk more about how much I enjoy showing friends and family my orchard, taking and sending photos to distant friends and relatives. And above all else, I should spend more time telling everyone how much I love tasting and eating homegrown fruit. Nothing like it. My point is that even though I talk a lot about my problems, growing fruit is the greatest hobby I have ever known and for me growing fruit is not a burden but a pleasure.


East of the Rockies the restricted entry period is 4 days, which is pretty high. The Imidan label does not allow the general public involved in U-pick or similar operations to enter the treated area for 14 days. I have not seen that restriction on any other materials that I use. Must be some reason for that restriction.