Peach Borer

The peach borer is a native of North America, found wherever peaches are grown east of the Rocky Mountains. A closely related species dwells in the West

Vulnerable plants
It is most important insect enemy of peach trees, but also attacks plum, wild and cultivated cherry, prune, nectarine, apricot and various ornamental shrubs.

Peach Borer Appearance and Habits
The first sign of injury is usually a mass of gum and brown frass at the base of the tree trunk, indicating that white worms, with brown heads, are working in the bark, anywhere from 2 to 3 in. below ground to 10 in. above. The winter is passed in this larval stage; in spring the borers resume feeding, attain their full inch-long size, then work to the surface of the bark to form cocoons of gum, excrement and bark particles.

Shortly before moth emergence, brown pupa cases are forced partly out of the cocoons. The moths are a little over 1 in. across their wings; the males are blue, with transparent, blue-bordered wings; the females have an orange band around a blue abdomen, blue fore-wings, transparent hindwings. Each female lays several hundred eggs near the base of the tree trunk, young worms hatching in about ten days to work their way inside the bark. Peaches seldom survive repeated borer attacks.

How to Manage Peach Borers
Dig out the borers when you notice their gummy residue around the base of the tree.

When planting peach trees, make a tin “shield” that circle the tree and fill the space between the shield and tree with tobacco dust. This forms a protective pesticide layer.

You can also encircle trees with moth balls or soft soap.

Coat bark of new trees with Tanglefoot of Stickem.

Plant garlic near the trees.

Squash Borer

The squash vine borer is a native of this hemisphere, occurring east of the Rocky Mountains from Canada to Brazil.

Vulnerable Plants
It attacks squashes and pumpkins and occasionally gourds, melons and cucumbers.

Squash Borer Appearance and Habits
The insect winters as a larva or pupa inside a silk-lined dark cocoon an inch or two below soil level. The adult is a wasplike moth, with copper-green forewings and orange and black abdomen, appearing in June in the Middle Atlantic States. It lays 150-200 eggs, singly, on the stem, especially at the base of the main stem, leaf stalks, blossoms. The young borers hatch in about a week, tunneling into the stem to feed. Usually the first sign of their presence is a sudden wilting of the vine, at which time close examination discloses masses of greenish-yellow excrement protruding from holes in the stem. The borer, a white, wrinkled caterpillar about 1 in. long, can be seen by slitting the stem with a knife.

How to Manage Squash Borers
Baby blue and butternut squash can resist the borer to some degree.

If a change in location is possible, do not grow squashes two years in succession on the same ground. If the same area must be used, spade or plow it in the fall to expose the cocoons. Pull up and burn vines immediately after harvest.

If a vine starts to wilt, kill the borer with a knife and heap earth over the stem joints to start new roots.

Make a second planting of summer squash to mature after the first borer brood has disappeared.

Apple Maggot

The apple maggot or railroad worm is a native, extending from Canada to North Carolina and west to North Dakota and Arkansas.

Vulnerable Plants
The maggot is particularly injurious to summer varieties in northern sections of the country. It also attacks blueberries, plums, and related flies infest peaches, cherries, and walnut trees.

Apple Maggot Appearance and Habits
Hibernation takes place inside a small brown puparium buried 1 to 6 in. deep in the soil. The adult flies do not emerge until summer (late June in some sections, early July in most). They are a little smaller than house flies, black, with white bands on the abdomen and conspicuous zigzag black bands on the wings.

The females lay their eggs singly through punctures in the apple skin; in 5 to 10 days these hatch into legless whitish maggots which tunnel through the fruit by rasping and tearing the pulp into brown winding galleries. Early varieties soon become a soft mass of rotten pulp; later varieties have corky streaks through the flesh and a distorted pitted surface. Completing their growth about a week after the apples have fallen to the ground, the larvae leave the fruit and burrow in the ground to pupate.

Ordinarily pupation continues until the next summer, but in its southem range, the apple maggot may have a partial second generation.

How to Manage Apple Maggots
Immediately remove and destroy dropped fruit on a large scale; this is effective only if implemented over several acres. If the fruit is not too badly infested, it can be turned into cider.

Plant white clover, home to beetles.

Hang fly-traps in trees from mid-June through the harvest, baited with a mixture of molasses, water, and yeast.

Maggots in picked fruit may be killed by holding the apples in cold storage for a month.

Codling Moth

Codling Moth Location
The codling moth, or apple worm, came to this country from Europe about 1750 and quickly became our most destructive pest of apple fruit.

Vulnerable Plants
Codling moths also attack pears, apricots, cherries, peaches, plums, quinces, crabapples and, in California, English walnuts. Unfortunately, spraying with pesticides is often the only effective method of controlling the codling moth, which is why these fruits are the most highly-contaminated with pesticides. (

Codling Moth Appearance and Habits
The insect passes the winter as a full-grown larva, an inch-long pinkish-white caterpillar with a brown head, inside a silken cocoon under loose scales on apple bark or in other sheltered places. In spring the worms change to brown pupae and then grayish-brown moths, 3/4 in. across the wings. These emerge to lay their eggs, singly, on the upper surface of leaves, on twigs and on fruit spurs. They work at dusk, when the weather is dry and the temperature is above 55° F.

A cold, wet spring at the time of egg-laying means less trouble with wormy apples. Hatching in 6 to 20 days, small worms crawl to the young apples, entering by way of the calyx cup at the blossom end. They tunnel to the core, often eating the seeds, then burrow out through the side of the apple, leaving a mass of brown excrement behind, and crawl to the tree trunk to pupate. There are two generations over most of the United States, and in some places a partial third. Second-brood larvae enter the fruit at any point, without preference for the blossom end.

Crop reduction comes not only from wormy fruit but from early drop of immature apples and from “stings” – small holes surrounded by dead tissue which lower fruit value even though the worms are poisoned before doing further damage.

How to Manage Codling Moths
Plant cover crops that support moth-eating beetles.

Hand-remove and destroy larvae.

Band trees with parasitic nematodes.

Clean up the orchard by scraping loose bark from trees and removing rubbish and all dropped apples immediately.

Spotted Cucumber Beetle

Spotted Cucumber Beetle Location
It is found throughout the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, increasing in importance towards the South.

Vulnerable Plants
The spotted cucumber beetle, aka Southern Corn Root-worm or Budworm, belongs to the same genus as the striped beetle but is a much more general feeder. As an adult, it works on at least 200 vegetables, flowers, weeds and grasses, and as a larva, feeds on roots of corn, beans, small grains, wild grasses. An almost identical variety, often called the Diabrotica beetle, is an important flower and vegetable pest in California.

Spotted Cucumber Beetle Appearance and Habits
The greenish-yellow beetles, 1/4 in. long with 12 conspicuous black spots, hibernate in protected places under rubbish or at the base of plants. In spring females lay their eggs just below the ground surface on or near young corn plants; yellow-white worm-like larvae with brown heads hatch to burrow into roots and bud. The corn either makes poor growth or dies. As they feed, the larvae also may disseminate bacteria causing corn wilt.

Although spotted cucumber beetles do not cause as much damage to cucurbit foliage as the striped beetles they, too, are carriers of cucumber wilt and mosaic. They are also particularly destructive to flowers, being a common pest of dahlias, cosmos, chrysanthemums and other late bloomers.

How to Manage Spotted Cucumber Beetles
Avoid injury to the corn crop by planting late on land plowed
the previous fall. For cucurbits follow directions given for striped cucumber beetles.

Striped Cucumber Beetle

Striped Cucumber Beetle Location
The striped cucumber beetle is a native of the United States, with a range from Mexico to Canada east of the Rocky Mountains.

Vulnerable Plants
It is a serious pest of the cucurbit family, injuring cucumbers, muskmelon, winter squash, pumpkins, gourds, summer squash and watermelon about in that order.

Striped Cucumber BeetleAppearance and Habits
The winter is passed as an adult – a small, 1/4 in. long yellow beetle with three black stripes, hiding at the base of weeds or under trash, often at some distance from the vegetable patch. The beetles start feeding in early spring on blossoms and leaves of various wild plants, but they migrate to the vine crops as soon as these appear above ground.

Mating soon after migration, the females lay yellow eggs, in crevices in the ground, which hatch into small, worm-like, whitish larvae. These feed on the roots for 2 to 6 weeks, pupate in the soil and, by midsummer, produce beetles which feed on leaves and often fruits until fall. There is one generation in the North, two or more in the South.

Cucumber beetles are injurious not only by the feeding of adults on leaves, stems and fruits, and of larvae on the roots, but also because they are carriers of cucumber wilt bacteria and the mosaic virus. The bacteria, living over the winter in the beetle’s intestinal tract, are inoculated into plants as the beetles feed; the virus is acquired while the insects are feeding on weeds in the spring and then transmitted to the vine crops.

How to Manage Striped Cucumber Beetle
Plant late, after the first beetles hatch. Start plants indoors in containers.

Protect seedlings with cheesecloth or nylon tents made by draping cloth over crossed stakes.

Straw mulch keeps adults from walking between plants.

Braconid wasps, nematodes, and soldier beetles consume the cucumber beetle.

Squash Bug

Squash Bug Location
The squash bug is common throughout the United States, ranging from Central America to Canada.

Vulnerable Plants
The squash bug attacks all vine crops, showing a preference for squashes and pumpkins.

Squash Bug Appearance and Habits
The adult bug is dark brown, sometimes mottled with gray or light brown, hard-shelled, about 4″ long. Because it gives off a disagreeable odor when crushed it is commonly called a “stink bug,” but true stink bugs belong to a related family. Unmated adults hibernate in the shelter of dead leaves, vines, boards or buildings and fly to the garden when the vines start to “run.” Mating takes place at that time, and clusters of brownish eggs are laid on the underside of the leaves in the angles between veins. Egg-laying continues until midsummer. The eggs hatch in a week or so into young nymphs with green abdomens and crimson heads and legs, but older nymphs are a somber grayish white with dark legs. There are five nymphal instars, or periods between molts, in the two months before the winged adult form appears.

Squash bug feeding causes leaves to wilt, then turn black and crisp. Small plants may be killed entirely, larger plants have one to several runners affected. Sometimes bugs are so numerous that it is impossible to produce any squashes; sometimes they congregate in dense groups on unripe fruits.

How toManage Squash Bug
Keep squash bugs away from vine plants by also planting marigolds, radishes, or nasturtiums.

Squash bugs like to hide under boards or trash, wherever it is darka and damp. Remove all potential protection.

Rotate crops.

Handpick beetles and eggs.

June Beetle

June Beetle Location
June beetles, aka June bugs, daw bugs, May beetles, and white grubs, include about 200 species and are distributed throughout North America.

Vulnerable Plants
More than 200 species injure grasses and vegetables in the grub stage and trees as adults. Adult beetles eat leaves of oak, ash, birch, pine and other trees, as well as blackberry leaves. Grubs attack roots of corn, potatoes, soybeans and strawberries.

June Beetle Appearance and Habits
Most beetles have a three-year cycle. Large, dark-brown beetles and white, brown-headed grubs winter in the soil. In spring adults leave the soil at night, flying to feed on leaves, mating, and returning at dawn to lay round white eggs in grassland soil. The grubs hatch in two or three weeks and feed on roots until fall when they work their way below the plow-line for winter.

Working upwards the next spring, they do most of their damage this second season. They grow to about an inch long, being the largest grubs commonly found in soil. The third season they feed until late spring, pupate in soil, change to beetles in late summer, but do not leave the ground until the next spring. Heavy beetle flights are to be expected every third year, but since there are different broods at varying stages in the life cycle, some June beetles appear every spring.

How to Manage June Beetle
Rotate berries with deep-rooted clover and alfalfa.

Tear up infested lawn and grasses, treat with organic fertilizer, and till and plow deeply to destroy the grubs the summer before planting.

Handpick adult beetles.

Japanese Beetle

Japanese Beetle Location
The Japanese beetle was first noticed in this country in 1916, near Riverton, N. J. Presumably it came from its native Japan as a grub in soil around the foots of nursery stock, or perhaps in a shipment of iris or azaleas. Since its discovery this pest has spread naturally from five to ten miles a year, to cover from Maine to Georgia, and west to Michigan and Missouri.

Vulnerable Plants
Adult beetles feed on foliage, flowers and fruits of almost 300 plants, and grubs work on grass roots. Some of the beetle’s favorite foods include: shade trees such as elm, horse chestnut, linden, sassafras, white birch, willow; fruits – grapes, raspberries, peach, apple, plum, cherry, quince; flowers – rose, hollyhock, marigold, mallow, spiraea, zinnia; vines – especially Virginia creeper; vegetables – corn, soybean, asparagus, rhubarb.

Japanese Beetle Appearance and Habits
The beetles are about 1/2″ long, shining bronze-green, with bronze wing covers from under which protrude twelve tufts of white hairs. They are particularly active on warm days, congregating in crowds on the sunniest parts of plants. They are most active on warm, sunny days, and fly only in the daytime. They emerge in late spring and early summer, and are most active for four to six weeks. Seasons following a particularly wet summer usually bring a bigger population of beetles.

During this time, each female lays from 40 to 60 eggs 2 to 6 inches deep in the soil. The young grubs feed on grass roots until cold weather, when they work their way down below the frost line. The grubs are white, hairy, brown-headed 3/4 in. long.

Beetles leave only the veins of leaves, and devour entire flower and fruits. Grubs cut off grass roots so that the sod can be rolled back like a carpet. Beetles feeding on corn silks prevent pollination, resulting in sparse kernel development.

How to Manage Japanese Beetles
The Japanese beetle has many natural enemies: the spring and fall typhia wasps, birds, and skunks are helpful beetle enemies.

Avoid planting turf or sod from outside the area, which may lack the nutrients to support these natural enemies.

Milky spore disease is harmless to plants, animals, and humans, but deadly for the beetle. It is most effective in areas bigger than one acre. Talk to a local garden group or county representative for more information.

Remove diseased fruit from the trees and ground, and keep the area weeded and clean.

Larkspur is poisonous for the beetles, and they avoid the odor of geraniums.

Handpick the beetles and drop them into a bucket of water with a think layer of kerosene.

Traps painted yellow and baited with fermenting fruit, sugar, and water catch thousands of beetles – empty this daily.

Colorado Potato Beetle

Colorado Potato Beetle Location
The Colorado Potato Beetle is a native, and is so common that it is referred to as simply the “Potato Bug.” Found in the Rocky Mountains feeding on Buffalo Bur about 1923, it did not become abundant until the potato was introduced into its territory. Then it spread eastward from potato patch to potato patch, averaging 85 miles a year, until it reached the Atlantic Coast and invaded Europe.

Vulnerable Plants
Although potato is its preferred food, this beetle will eat almost anything available, especially tomato, eggplant, tobacco, pepper, ground cherry, thorn apple, jimson weed, henbane, and thistle.

Colorado Potato Beetle Appearance and Habits
Adults spend the winter buried 8 to 10 inches deep in the soil, emerging in time to feed on the first foliage of early potatoes. They are wide, convex beetles, 1/2″ long, with alternating black and yellow stripes. Females lay up to 20 batches each of orange-yellow eggs in groups on the underside of the leaves, over 4 to 5 weeks. The eggs hatch into humpbacked, purplish-red larvae, with 2 rows of black dots along each side. These larvae eat voraciously, often entirely consuming the leaves. When full-grown they descend into a spherical cell in the ground, transform to a yellowish pupa, and in 5 to 10 days new adults emerge to feed and lay eggs for the second generation.

How to Manage Colorado Potato Beetles
Grow potatoes above ground! Drop potato seeds on 3″ of sod or leaf cover and cover with straw.

Plant natural beetle repellents nearby: flax, horseradish, garlic, eggplant, snap beans, nightshade.

Handpick the beetles and crush the eggs.

Dust the tops of potato leaves with wheat bran. The beetles will eat it and bloat up until they die.

Ladybugs and toads eat beetles.

Spray with basil water.

Spray foliage thoroughly with lead or calcium arsenate, or cryolite, whenever beetles or larvae are present. Either arsenical may be combined with Bordeaux mixture for the control of blight, but cryolite may be used only with a fixed copper free from lime.