What's Eating my Peaches?

whiteRhino(8b)March 11, 2014

I've got a large peach tree that I rescued from a big box store over the summer, and is doing beautifully transplanted into our front yard here in Tallahassee, except that something has just started eating the juvenile peaches.

There are hundreds of peaches, all smaller than a golf ball, and a small percentage of them are exhibiting signs of some feasting. They aren't decaying, or looking as if they're been bored into, they simply look as if someone very tiny came by and took a bite out of each.

The only insects I've been able to spot on the tree are a couple of lady bugs...could they be the culprit?

What should I do to protect my potential crop?

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whiteRhino(8b)

I just went out to take a picture of the peaches exhibiting the "bite marks", and for the first time actually found a lady bug ON one of the fruits, as opposed to on a branch as previously seen. When I picked it off, there was some yellow colored substance on the fruit, unknown whether it related directly to the lady bug.

There were also quite a few wasps/hornets walking around on the branches, and a bee or two although no flowers remain on the tree. Could they have any interest in the fruits or are they looking to build a nest?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 3:27PM
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L_in_FL(8B/9A Border, NW FL)

Ladybugs don't eat fruit - they eat aphids and other small insects. Bees don't eat fruit, either. The wasps are most likely hunting insects to feed their young.

Birds, squirrels, rats, and other mammals eat peaches, but normally they eat them when they are ripening.

To me, what you have looks like caterpillar damage. Seen any caterpillars on the tree? I'm hesitant to recommend a control without knowing for sure what's doing the munching.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 6:03PM
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loufloralcityz9

Slugs will also eat the unripened fruit, they come out late at night when the humidity is high. I have also found slugs eating my green tomatoes too. A 2AM or 3AM trek out to the trees with a flashlight should show you if slugs are what is eating the fruit.

Lou

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 9:43PM
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carolb_w_fl(zone 9/10)

Those look like something w/ teeth gnawed them - squirrels, rats?

The rats around here have been especially bothersome this winter - along w/ possums - which eat anythingâ¦...

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 10:18AM
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whiteRhino(8b)

It certainly does look like gnawing, but because of the microscopic size of the fruit and branches on which they're growing, I think it's pretty safe to rule that out. The weight of even the smallest squirrel wouldn't be supported enough to get to the fruits, short of just shaking the entire tree barren. We also don't seem to have rats in our area, oddly enough. Lots of cats though.

It definitely seems to be some sort of slow-eating insect, but I can't for the life of me find anything other than lady bugs. But sure as anything, I'm losing an additional two or three fruit a day to whatever it is.

Should I just start spraying for caterpillars?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 11:18AM
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ibarbidahl(9 (tampa-ish))

I have the exact thing hapening to my peaches and this week I've done nothing but look longingly out my windows. In doing so I have watched several squirrels gnaw onmy peaches. I was flabbergasted that they could get to the sweet tips like that, but trust me - they did. AND I am furious! I'm buying a trap this week!

Barbie

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 2:17PM
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