Peaches and pests

Hello, I live in Kentucky and this is the first year my peach trees have given significant fruit.

I don’t spray, but I thinned the trees and also plucked off any fruit that had bug damage. With the Redhaven, the bug-damaged peaches were becoming more and more common and as soon as a bug takes a bite of one, other bugs descend on that spot and soon that peach is rotting and turning brown.

Is it just bugs that cause this, or something else? I’d rather not spray and harm any beneficial insects. Not sure what to do, though.

Anyway, the fruit on the Redhaven is essentially gone now (or all brown). The Georgia Belle still has green peaches, but I’m wondering if something similar will happen to those.

Thanks in advance.

1 Like


Photos would get you a better response. For my Red Havens in Indiana, insects make them ooze clear jelly like fluid.

Peaches really need a lot work to actually get fruit. I was told; once you figure out the insects, then it’s the brown rot!

In most area of the country, Growing peaches without spray is difficult. There are too many bugs that damage peaches. The major pests are plum curculio, oriental fruit moth and codling moth and peach tree borers.

Peaches also have several diseases inclding canker, bacterial spot and the dreaded brown rot.

Both pests and diseases alone can ruin you peach crop. Together, they cause more extensive damage. Fruit damaged by bugs will bring on a fungal disease like brown rot more readily.

In short, no spray, a chance of having clean peaches is very slim.


Please post some pictures of the damage. If we can figure out the insect causing the damage it is more likely we can give you useful advice. Also some of the damage may be from brown rot or other diseases.

To be successful with peaches you need to be able to control brown rot and protect the fruit from insects.

To protect the fruit from insects you can: do nothing, spray Surround, bag the fruit, spray an insecticide or do a combination of these things.

Do nothing- won’t work when the insects show up in numbers

Spray Surround- Surround is a kaolin clay and is not an insecticide. The clay acts as protectant and repels insects.

Bag the fruit- you place bags on the fruit when they reach dime size so insects can’t attack them. Depending on where you are and the insect species you may still have some damage because the insects will attack the fruit before it reaches dime size.

Spray an insecticide- you don’t spray until after petal fall to prevent killing pollinators

Combination example- spray 1 or 2 times with Surround or an insecticide and then bag the fruit. This protects the fruit until it’s large enough to bag.

To control brown rot you can plant peach trees resistant to brown rot and/or you can spray an organic or synthetic fungicide. Kentucky is hot and humid in the Summers so brown rot is going to be a real problem at some point when it shows up. Even with brown rot resistant peaches you will need to spray a fungicide. On the forum most people that start out with organic fungicides eventually switch to synthetic ones since the synthetics are much more effective and brown rot pressure is high in hot, humid regions.

I’ll chime back in after picking a dozen Red Havens. We used Trazicide and Captan at petal fall and every 10-14 days up to about a month before harvest.Some are clean of insects but in a small sample, 1 in 3 have a single worm! I hope the stats look better when I start the major picking. I’m thinking a peach with a worm might ripen early.

I did have several sprays that rain occurred a few days later. I would have sprayed soon after the rain but, it was still raining!!

If I was recommending a starting point to someone who wants minimal spray for peaches, I would say the first 3 sprays are very important. Then cross your fingers. I feel applying the last spray 30 days before harvest vs. 14 days as the product minimum, my fruit is “cleaner” of pesticides.