Pomegranate Insect, Mite & Nematode Pests
Pomegranates in California > Insects, Mite & Nematode Pests
Pomegranate is a minor crop, representing only 2.3% of the 2011 total fruit and nut tree acreage in California (NASS 2012). As a result, there are not many chemicals registered for use in pomegranate pest control. This might explain why three of the four major pomegranate pests today were also of major importance in the 1980s (LaRue 1980). Fortunately, biocontrols are commonly an effective tool to combat pest issues. The most problematic pests for pomegranates are aphids, citrus flat mite (Brevipalpus lewisi), leaf footed bug (Leptoglossus clypealis) and omnivorous leafroller (Platynota stultana).
Aphids are a widespread and persistent pest in pomegranates, and are commonly controlled using parasites or lady beetles (depending on the time of the season). The two primary aphid species that result in fruit damage are the cotton aphid (Aphis gossypii) and another unidentified species referred to as the pomegranate aphid (Carroll 2010). Both cause sooty mold and soft rot to occur where fruit share common surfaces (Day and Wilkins 2011). Citrus flat mite are very small in size, difficult to trace (Carroll 2010), and cause skin russeting, checking (LaRue 1980) or leathery skin (Carroll 2010) resulting in unmarketable fresh fruit. Sulfur application during and after bloom can be used as a preventative measure against citrus flat mite (Day and Wilkins 2011). Leaf footed bug affects internal fruit quality because they penetrate immature fruit and damage arils. Insecticides can be sprayed for prevention (Day and Wilkins 2011). Omnivorous leafroller enter fruit near the calyx, leading to fruit diseases. Prevention is difficult because treatment must be applied in the larvae stage to prevent damage (LaRue 1980, Day and Wilkins 2011).
For more information, see UC Statewide IPM Program: How to Manage Pests: Pomegranate
These photos are accessed from the UC ANR Repository, courtesy of the UC Statewide IPM Program. Photo information, including the photographer, is displayed when the larger image is viewed.