UGA Pecan Extension

Insect Update: Pecan Bud Moth and Nut Casebearers

It’s that time of the year again that these moth pests are out and about.

Bud Moth. There have been calls regarding bud moth problems with young trees recently. Symptoms include rolled leaves and dead terminals (pictures below). To confirm infestation, check the rolled leaves and you would find a caterpillar inside. Bud moth adults lay eggs on leaves and buds, and once the eggs hatch out, the larvae feed on leaves and buds and will eventually tunnel into the shoots. Early season attack can seriously damage young trees by killing terminals which causes multiple branching. Time application before caterpillars bore into the shoots. Here are the options: Intrepid, Dimilin, Spintor, Altacor and Minecto Pro. Bad infestations may necessitate treatment using chlorpyrifos (Lorsban) but be aware that using this product is detrimental to beneficial insects.

Picture 1: Characteristic injury caused by bud moth.

Picture 2: Bud moth larva feeding on a new leaf.

Picture 3: Bud moth larva that tunneled into a shoot.

Pecan Nut Casebearer. Pheromone traps deployed at Ponder Farm and Peach Co., GA have captured moths since late April. Eggs and larvae have been found at both locations for a week or two now. Infestation numbers are less than 10%. Normally, we would recommend holding off spraying for nut casebearers during high crop load years. However, there have been reports of infestations in the Southwest region of the state affected by the hurricane where trees are not producing as well. We’d recommend treating for this pest in those areas. For the rest of the pecan-producing areas, casebearers may be able to provide some of the thinning services. If you choose to treat, Intrepid, Intrepid Edge and Dimilin have been proven to work.

As per Andrew Sawyer’s assessment in the Southeast District, nut case bearers are active but at low populations. The most we finding right now is 1 nut damage in 10 or more terminals. We’d recommend not spraying for them. If you are thinking of ways to cut costs, foregoing spray(s) for nut casebearers would be one.

Pecan nut casebearer larva feeding in a nutlet.

Nut casebearer-infested nutlets.

As a general reminder, please avoid using broad spectrum insecticides (Lorsban, pyrethroids) early in the season to avoid disrupting beneficial insect populations and causing early aphid infestations. We have had reports of higher-than-usual yellow and black aphid infestations in orchards treated with chlorpyrifos (Lorsban) earlier this season.

Authors: Angel Acebes-Doria, Will Hudson and Andrew Sawyer