Sap beetles may be small, but they can be a serious threat to ripening fruit.
Sap beetle description
Sap beetles are tiny (0.1 to 0.2 inches long), flat, and usually brown or black. They are active and move quickly. There may be spots on short wings and the antenna are clubbed. Larvae are white with a tan head, 3 pairs of legs and 2 horn-shaped structures on their back end. There are several varieties of sap beetle, also known as dried fruit beetles. These most common varieties are:
Less common varieties include:
Sap beetle damage
Sap beetles damage fruit by feeding, transmitting disease, and making fruit more appealing to other pests. Sap beetles create a hole near the stem of ripening fruit, where they enter and begin feeding. They begin by attacking fruit that has fallen on the ground, but ripe and overripe fruit left on trees can draw these pests upward. Sap beetles can act as disease vectors, spreading brown rot, Fusarium wilt and other fungal diseases. As damaged fruit begins to rot, other pests, such as navel orangeworm and vinegar flies, are attracted to the tree.
How to control sap beetles
Sanitation offers the best control of sap beetles. This means removing all fruit as soon as possible, including fruit that has fallen or mummified on the tree. Before fruit starts ripening, containers of fruit, water and yeast may be used to attract and drown sap beetles.
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