UGA Pecan Extension

Insect update – Budmoth

Here’s an update from UGA Entomologist Will Hudson on budmoth:

We’ve dodged ambrosia beetles for the most part, but lots of growers with young trees are seeing budmoth damage now. This pest is common in orchards but doesn’t do enough damage in larger trees to be noticeable.  Small trees, especially in the first couple of years can be severely affected if the caterpillars tunnel into and kill the leader.  In extreme cases most of the new shoots can be killed on a small tree, leading to reduced growth or even tree death.

Adult budmoths begin laying eggs on buds and new foliage as the trees begin to flush out in the spring. Caterpillars feed on the leaves at first, then tunnel into the stems and into the shoot.  Treatment should be aimed at the worms while they are on the leaves, since they are protected once inside the shoot.  Contact insecticides like chlorpyrifos and caterpillar materials like Intrepid provide good control, but there are several generations and retreatment is required at 2-3 week intervals.  Longer residual materials like Belt (if you have or can get it) or other diamide insecticides (Besiege, Voliam) are systemic and protect the new foliage for much longer, requiring fewer retreatments.

Not every new orchard will have budmoth problems, but they are native and common enough that growers should be alert and ready to treat if damage is found.

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About Lenny Wells

I am an Associate Professor and Extension Horticulture Specialist for pecans at the University of Georgia. My research and extension programs focus on practical cultural management strategies that help to enhance the economic and environmental sustainability of pecan production in Georgia.