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Pest Alert

Pest Alerts provide background information, and in some cases management recommendations, concerning arthropods that currently are active in the Commonwealth. In many cases the subjects are not pests but are abundant or just have aroused curiosity.

Green June beetles and fruit crops

By Ric Bessin

As fruit crops begin to ripen across the state, one insect pest is almost certain to cause problems, the green June beetle. Unlike the Japanese beetle that is primarily a leaf feeder, although it will attack damaged fruit and sound fruit on occasion, the green June beetle almost exclusively feeds on the fruit. It may be easier to list fruit that this pest does not attack as most of the fruit crops are vulnerable. Growers of peaches, apples, grapes, blueberries, and blackberries have regular battles with this pest.

Green June beetle is attracted to ripening fruit often in the last few days before maturity. This is when the sugar content of the fruit begins to peak. Damage by green June beetle often attracts other insect harvest pests including sap beetle, Japanese beetles, fruit flies, wasps and bees.

Control of green June beetle is not easy. Although we have very effective sprays that can eliminate the pest, the difficulty is timing. They typically arrive in the last few days before harvest begins. The required pre-harvest interval (PHI) of the more effective sprays is longer than period before harvest will begin, so they cannot be used when the beetles arrive. Growers often will substitute a less effective material with a short pre-harvest interval in order to comply with the required waiting period.

Sanitation is also very important, not only for green June beetle, but the other pests that are attracted to the damaged fruit and the scent of the fermenting plant juices. To the extent the practical and possible, the damaged fruit needs to be removed from the orchard/vineyard. In intense situations or where organic-certification precludes the use of synthetic insecticides, netting can be used over small plants and vines as a barrier to the beetles.

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Found in Kentucky

A small, but devastating insect has been found infesting hemlocks in eastern Kentucky within the past few weeks. Dr. John Obrycki, Department of Entomology chair and State Entomologist, has confirmed that the hemlock woolly adelgid has come to Kentucky. More details are contained in this news release from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. A new factsheet outlines options to manage the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid.

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This page is maintained by Lee Townsend, Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky. Please send questions or suggestions to: ltownsen@uky.edu