Insects that attack apple and pear trees

Insects that attack apple and pear trees

The apple and pear trees are essential fruit trees, usually generous and fairly simple cultivation and for these reasons very common both in orchards and as plants in the garden.

However they can be attacked by various diseases and harmful insects so much so that in more serious cases the fruits appear almost entirely damaged, and there are those who come to think that a productive and satisfactory organic fruit growing is not possible. Fortunately, however, the organic fruit grower, both professional and amateur, has various means and preventive strategies that allow him to harvest healthy apples and pears.

The key thing is to always keep an eye on the plants and learn to recognize the first signs of the presence of harmful insects, perhaps through the use of monitoring traps with which to quickly understand when it is time to intervene. From the carpocapsa to the hornets we see what are the main harmful insects pear and apple trees and how they are kept at bay with ecological but effective methods. On Orto Da Coltivare you can also find an article dedicated to the main diseases of pear and apple trees, always based on natural remedies that allow you to harvest healthy fruit.

Carpocapsa pomonella

There carpocapsa pomonella it is a moth that can be very harmful to pome plants. The adults of the carpocapsa are butterflies with streaked gray front wings, while the larvae are light with a dark head and then turn pink. The damage is caused by the insect in the larva stage, which digs tunnels in the fruit pulp. This parasite affects both the apple tree and the pear tree, although it is commonly called the "apple worm".

The adults appear from the month of May after having wintered protected in cocoons in the crevices in the barks, and for this reason towards the end of summer it is very useful to wrap the trunks with corrugated cardboard, so that the wintering forms nest there, which we we can then easily eliminate.

There are various ecological strategies and means of struggle that we can adopt to contain this insect, which during the season can make two or three generations. For apple orchards or professional organic pear trees, with a size of at least one hectare, the most valid system is i pheromone diffusers for sexual confusion, because it limits the reproduction of the insect. Their effectiveness is dispersed on small surfaces such as those of an amateur orchard, especially if mixed. So in these cases it is better to choose other means.

A good alternative also suitable for the defense of a few plants is the installation of food traps Tap Trap, which with an easily achievable bait based on sweet and spicy wine can capture adult individuals.

How insecticides allowed by organic farming we can make treatments based on Spinosad or Granulosis virus, to be carried out during the season or treatments in autumn with entomoparasitic nematodes of the genus Steinernema.

The installation of the insect nets after the fruit set, putting them first would hinder pollination by bees.

Finally, it seems that sprinkle the hair with zeolite powder, a fine mineral of volcanic origin, can create a sort of thin barrier on plants, with a repellent effect against this and other insects.

Cochineal of S. Josè

The presence of this cochineal can be recognized by the reddish dots it creates on apples or pears, but its colonies on the branches can also be seen, where they nest and suck their sap. When the plants are few, s can be performedvigorous madness or remove the cochineals with fern macerates. We remind you that the abundance of scale insects is favored by dense and shady foliage and therefore one rational pruning and well managed (always without exaggerating) it helps us.

If at least 5% of fruits with cochineal signs are noticed when harvesting pears and apples, before the next vegetative restart it will be advisable to treat mineral oils.

Gray apple aphid

This aphid lives in colony like the others, but is gray in color with a dusty and waxy appearance. The gray aphid of the apple tree appears and causes damage already in flowering, irreversibly deforming the shoots and then the fruit. There is also a very similar gray aphid that affects the pear plant, however the pear aphid is less harmful because it attacks the fruit more rarely.

The ladybugs they are very useful as natural predators of aphids, it is a pity that they appear slightly later than the arrival of this aphid, which must therefore be eradicated by other means such asazadirachtin, natural insecticide based on Neem oil or with Marseille soap. As a prevention, weekly spraying of natural garlic macerates are also valid, with a repellent effect.

Leaf embroiderers

Leaf embroiderers are lepidoptera (butterflies) of different species. The damage they cause has the appearance of embroidery because they are thin tunnels in the parenchyma of the leaves or in the skin of the fruit. As with other lepidoptera that affect many fruit and vegetable species, these too defeat well with products based on Bacillus thuringiensis, which is already worth using when you notice the presence of embroidery on 3-5% of fruit and repeating the treatment other times if the damage continues.


The antonomo is a beetle with a rostrum on the front, or a kind of beak. The females lay their eggs in the flower buttons, which consequently no longer hatch.

Considering the precocity of the damage, it is necessary to be very prompt in identifying it e treat with natural pyrethrum. Better to use this photolabile insecticide in the evening, also not to damage the bees, since it is not very selective and could also kill beneficial insects.

Psylla of the pear tree

It is a very small insect with transparent wings, which sucks sap from the leaves, buds and twigs of the pear tree, smearing them with its sugary droppings. The Marseille soap dissolved in water it is excellent for eradicating it, while in the case of extended biological pereti it is possible to launch antagonistic insects such as Anthocoris nemoralis.

Red and yellow hair style

They are both butterflies that in the state of larva dig tunnels in the wood of the plant, hence the name of "rodilegno". They can be identified by noticing their holes or the wood patch outside these. There presence of the woodpecker it is a natural aid to combat this insect, as this bird willingly hunts the larvae of the woodpecker. But if his contribution wasn't enough we could to deal with Bacillus thuringiensis, excellent larvicide of natural origin.


The tingide is a small insect with a flattened dark body and transparent wings, it shows its damage on the lower pages of the leaves, with various black dots (excrements) and light dots. When, searching the shoots and the first leaves, its appearance is noticed on at least 10% of these, we can deal with Marseille soap or with natural pyrethrum when the flower petals fall.

Wasps and hornets

Wasps and hornets mainly attack pears near ripeness, because they are very attracted to their sugar content, while in the apple orchard their presence is less annoying. To intervene effectively against this type of insects, it is necessary to operate long before the pears are ready, that is, already from flowering, by installing food traps such as Vaso Trap, because in this way reproductions are avoided.

Also in this sense, the organic fruit grower must be timely: already in spring he has the possibility of preventing damage that will probably occur at the end of summer, with the fruits close to ripening.

Pear Tentredine

It is a hymenoptera (like bees and wasps) that can affect the pear tree. the sawfly larvae penetrate the small fruits, eating them. On pears, destined to fall before ripening, swellings can be seen at the point where oviposition took place. For the mass capture of the pear sawfly they can be used chromotropic traps white color. The sawfly overwinters in the ground and wakes up in spring, so in the case of plants previously attacked, it is worth doing two treatments with pyrethrum, one before flowering and one after.

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Sara Petrucci2020-08-03T16: 54: 47 + 02: 00
  1. Tiziana29 May 2019 at 10:07

    Hi, I would like to ask you for information on a parasite that attacked three of the six pear trees in my family orchard. It is a sort of brownish and gelatinous worm, a sort of miniature snail, long (for now) at most 2 cm and a few millimeters wide. I state that the plants in question have been neglected for two years, so no pruning, no fertilization and, for a few months, no irrigation. None of them (although they are several years old) bears fruit, not even one, and those three in particular have little foliage, very “rusty” and worn. What parasite is it? how to eradicate it in an organic way? Will the plants be recoverable? Thanks!!

    • Matteo Cereda29 May 2019 at 11:04

      From the description it seems to me that it is limacina, a hymenoptera. It is not particularly harmful, even if it eats the leaves. Generally we only intervene if there are many insects you could use neem oil or nettle macerate. I would also try with Marseille soap. Pyrethrum is certainly effective but being able to avoid it, I would avoid it.

  2. Tiziana29 May 2019 at 21:40

    Dear Matteo, as always you have seen us right! It is really limacina! Now the question is: would yellow Tap Trap be effective on adults? And is this the time to set the traps? It is not clear to me when I have to act on who is with what. However, it is very comforting that they are more ugly to look at than harmful. There remains the doubt of the absolute lack of fruit. I hope to remedy for the next season with the autumn pruning and fertilization interventions. Do you approve? Thanks as always!

    • Matteo Cereda30 May 2019 at 8:52

      Hi Tiziana, if I was right it is also thanks to your precision in describing. Honestly I have never tried Tap Trap for limacina, it would be worth experimenting. Of course you have to use the yellow one and try the fly bait recipes. Put the traps immediately, in general they would be put at the beginning of the season, aiming to intercept the first insects.

      Pruning carefully is certainly positive, even fertilizing is useful, without excess. Too much fertilizer is worse than too little, unfortunately there is no way of being able to help from a distance because each soil has different needs in terms of nutrients.

  3. Alfonso Zannelli9 May 2020 at 10:23

    Every year I can only my beautiful pears. See why they come literally. Attacked by wasps, what can I do? It is in an advanced flowering phase, is it possible to wrap each fruit and let it ripen inside without being attacked and eaten by wasps? Thanks for your help

    • Matteo Cereda11 May 2020 at 0:32

      Rather than wrapping each fruit, I would use insect nets on the tree.

  4. Alfonso Zannelli9 May 2020 at 10:27

    Save pears from wasp attacks… ..wrap the fruit? Is it in an advanced full flowering phase and, if so, when?

    • Matteo Cereda11 May 2020 at 0:31

      Have you tried food traps for wasps? They are a great system. If you want to use insect nets, wait for the fruit to be ready.

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