Agriculture: Apricot Pest Management Guidelines

Green Fruitworms

  • Citrus cutworm: Xylomyges curialis
  • Humped green fruitworm: Amphipyra pyramidoides
  • Speckled green fruitworm: Orthosia hibisci
  • Description of the Pest

    Larvae are pale green caterpillars, often with whitish stripes down each side of the body and a narrow stripe down the middle of the back. The adult of one common species is a grayish moth with a 1-inch wingspan. Most species overwinter as adults and have one generation each year.


    Green fruitworms eat large holes in young leaves and fruit.


    Dormant treatments and bloomtime applications for other pests help keep fruitworm numbers under control. However, regular monitoring each season is important so that prompt action can be taken if damaging levels develop.

    Biological Control

    Certain parasitic wasps (Cotesia (=Apanteles) ,Eulophus, Meteorus, and Ophion spp.) help keep green fruitworm numbers under control.

    Organically Acceptable Methods

    Use bloomtime sprays of Bacillus thuringiensis and spring sprays of the Entrust formulation of spinosad on organically grown apricots.

    Monitoring and Treatment Decisions

    Monitor for green fruitworms from the beginning of bloom until after petal fall. Carefully check young leaves and blossoms for the presence of larvae and leaf damage. Use a beating tray to catch larvae that drop from the tree as you shake blossom clusters, young fruit, and foliage, or hit limbs with a beating stick. Check green fruit for the presence of larvae. A treatment threshold of 1 worm per 100 fruit clusters per 20-acre block or 1 worm per 50 beat tray samples has been developed for pears and probably is applicable to stone fruits.

    If damaging numbers are present, prevent fruit damage by treating with insecticide. Delayed dormant applications of oil plus organophosphate insecticide control green fruitworms. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) formulations are safe to use during bloom and are effective on small larvae. Bloomtime applications of Bt for peach twig borer may control green fruitworms and cankerworms as well. If you use other materials, make applications during or shortly after petal fall. Spot-treat localized infestations. Continue to monitor for the pest after treatment. If you find no more young larvae, you need take no more control action that season.

    Take a fruit damage sample at harvest to assess the effectiveness of the current year's IPM program and to determine the needs of next year's program (see FRUIT SAMPLING AT HARVEST). Record results (example formPDF).

    Common name Amount to Use** REI‡ PHI‡
    (Example trade name) (conc.) (dilute) (hours) (days)
    Not all registered pesticides are listed. The following are ranked with the pesticides having the greatest IPM value listed first—the most effective and least harmful to natural enemies, honey bees, and the environment are at the top of the table. When choosing a pesticide, consider information relating to air and water quality, resistance management, and the pesticide's properties and application timing. Always read the label of the product being used.
      (Supreme) 4–6 gal 1–1.5 gal 12 0
      MODE OF ACTION: Contact including smothering and barrier effects.
      COMMENTS: Cover all parts of the tree. Oil alone will control low to moderate infestations. Do not use oil sprays on water-stressed trees. Some of the new lower-chilling varieties, especially Poppycot, can be highly susceptible to oil damage. Use extreme care when applying oil to these varieties. Check with certifier to determine which products are organically acceptable.
      . . . PLUS . . .
      (Diazinon 50W) 1 lb/100 gal 4 days 21
      COMMENTS: Organophosphate insecticide sprays are very toxic to honey bees. Apply diazinon only during dormant or delayed-dormant period if the cover crop or orchard floor weeds are not in bloom and attracting bees, and do not allow meat or dairy animals to graze in treated orchards. When applied early in the dormant season, this low-label rate provides effective control and reduces the risk of runoff into waterways, mitigating concerns of surface water pollution. Levels in surface waters of this material that are high enough to be toxic to some aquatic invertebrates have occurred following rains in January and February; avoid runoff into surface waters. Do not apply more than 4 lb product per application.
      (various products) Label rates 4 0
      COMMENTS: Make two applications during bloom: the first between popcorn and the beginning of bloom and the second 7 to 10 days later, but no later than petal fall. Good coverage is essential. Ground application using a concentrate rate (80–100 gal water maximum) is preferred. If aerial applications must be made because conditions do not permit ground application, a concentrate rate (5 gal or less) is preferred. Fly material on at a height of about 20 feet over the canopy using appropriate nozzles to allow better deposition on the tree tops. Compatible with fungicide sprays, and can be tank mixed with them. For tank mixes, observe all directions for use on all labels, and employ the most restrictive limits and precautions. Never exceed the maximum a.i. on any label when tank mixing products that contain the same a.i.
      (Entrust)# 1.25–2.5 oz 0.42–0.83 oz 4 14
      (Success) 4–8 fl oz 1.3–2.7 fl oz 4 14
      COMMENTS: Most effective when applied at petal fall. This product is toxic to bees for 3 hours following treatment; do not spray directly or allow to drift onto blooming crops or weeds where bees are foraging. Apply in the late evening after bees have stopped foraging. Do not apply more than 29 fl oz/acre per year of Success or 9 oz/acre per year of Entrust.
      (Delegate WG) 4.5–7 oz 1.125–1.75 oz 4 14
      COMMENTS: This product is toxic to bees for 3 hours following treatment; do not spray directly or allow to drift onto blooming crops or weeds where bees are foraging. Apply in the late evening after bees have stopped foraging. Do not apply more than 28 oz/acre per year or make more than four applications per year.
      (Intrepid 2F) 10–16 fl oz 2–4 fl oz 4 14
      COMMENTS: Do not apply more than 16 fl oz/acre per application or more than 64 fl oz/acre per season.
      (Imidan 70-W) 2.125–4.25 lb 1 lb 7 days 14
      (Diazinon 50W) 1 lb/100 gal 4 days 21
      COMMENTS: Avoid drift and tailwater runoff into surface waters. Where apricots are grown adjacent to waterways, do not use this material. Do not apply more than 4 lbs product per application.
    ** For concentrate applications, use the amount given in 80 to 100 gal water/acre or lower if the label allows; for dilute application, amount is per 100 gal water to be applied in 300 to 400 gal water/acre, according to label.
    Restricted entry interval (REI) is the number of hours (unless otherwise noted) from treatment until the treated area can be safely entered without protective clothing. Preharvest interval (PHI) is the number of days from treatment to harvest. In some cases the REI exceeds the PHI. The longer of two intervals is the minimum time that must elapse before harvest.
    # Acceptable for use on organically grown produce.
    Not recommended or not on label.
    1 Rotate chemicals with a different mode-of-action group number, and do not use products with the same mode-of-action group number more than twice per season to help prevent development of resistance. For example, the organophosphates have a group number of 1B; chemicals with a 1B group number should be alternated with chemicals that have a group number other than 1B. Mode-of-action group numbers are assigned by IRAC (Insecticide Resistance Action Committee).
    * Permit required from county agricultural commissioner for purchase or use.
    Text Updated: 10/14
    Treatment Table Updated: 10/14