By Ben Reeves, Berrien County Extension Agent
The pecan bud moth, Gretchena bolliana (Slingerland) is a pest of 1 to 3-yearold pecan trees. When left untreated, this pest can cause serious injury. Damage is not often noticed until too late, and this is due to the inconspicuous nature of
the caterpillar phase.
Pecan budmoth larvae are a dull yellow color and grow to be a half inch long (Fig 3). Adults overwinter within pecan orchards and emerge in early spring. Shortly after emerging moths lay single eggs on pecan shoots and buds. Larvae hatch within six days of egg laying and begin feeding on buds, leaves and developing shoots. The most common damage appears as “toasted” or “burned” leaves, called necrosis. The larvae spin web causing young leaves to roll. Following this, larvae may bore into the young shoot, preventing insecticide contact to the larvae and cause the twig to die back.
Early detection for bud moth is critical for control. Pecans are starting to budbreak in South Georgia now.
This is the time to scout for webbing and dark necrotic lesions on young leaves. Look for tiny webs strung
from bud to bud. You may see webs just around the bud itself. This is the first sign of budmoth.
There is not an established threshold for budmoth control. A good rule of thumb is to be prepared to treat in 1
to 3 year-old orchards around bud break. If infestation persists, then follow up treatments are necessary.
Regarding insecticide use, insect growth regulators offer good residual control. Multiple applications of these
products are likely warranted due to the bud moth having 5-6 generations per year. Last year, we saw budmoth damage in Berrien County through June. If you find an infestation with serious damage, use Lorsban as
a quick knockdown. Remember, Lorsban has little residual, so you will need to follow up with a residual soon
It is often more convenient to use a sprayer on the back of an ATV. All you need to do is mix percentage of the
product based on what we use per acre. The table below provides calculated rates of each product per 10 gallon sprayers.