Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pomegranate Trees and Pests

Pomegranates are good choices for drought tolerant gardens. They can take regular garden watering, but will grow in drought conditions once established.

These deciduous trees can grow up to 20 feet tall and across, forming a large round shrub. They can also be trimmed and formed into multi-trunk trees.

But sometimes there can be trouble in paradise.......



The Pomegranate Mystery Pest


pomegranite pestYUCK!

What is this bug?

How can I get rid of it?

I'm starting this blog entry and a page on my regular site theGardenPages.com to collect information about it, and how to get rid of it!

I believe this is called the leaf-footed plant bug. I am told it is rare in California, but you wouldn't know that by looking at my tree! This pest bores holes into the ripening pomegranate fruits. The fruits get brown spoiled spots on them and eventually fall to the ground in a pile of rotting fruit.

Last year when the pomegranates were all gone, they moved to my Navel Orange tree. The oranges seemed to develop thicker skins where the bugs tried to drill into them. I have not seen damage on the oranges - yet.

Please join me on my quest for information on controlling this evil garden pest!

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I loive in Las Vegas nevvada and by pomegrante trees are infested with these leaf-footed monster looking creatures. Last night a pomegrate fell off one of my trees, cracked open and out poured tons of leaf-footed babies!! It was gross.....Someone please tell me how to get rid of these bugs!

froggymoni said...

I live in Orange County, Ca and have a beautiful big pomegrante tree. Last year the tree had so much fruit and huge. This year its the same thing, but when I went to go pick the fruit....those leaf footed bugs were everywhere!! I couldn't pick my fruit. I researched on the web to see what they were and found your information. So please help me get rid of these ugly bugs. I have a lemon tree and 2 orange trees as well but they haven't got to those ones and I hope they don't. Please if anyone knows how to get rid of these awful bugs let me know!!

regina said...

So, yes, I found you because I've found this same pest on my fruit. I'll check back for help and let you know if I find an answer.

The Guy said...

i have the same bugs, i live in costa mesa, i have the oc vertor coming out tomarrow to make sure that they are not kissing bugs.im sure if you know what a kissing bug is,look it up do some research but i recommend saying away until you are sure you know what they are. kissing bugs are dangerous

Erick Lux said...

The bug in question(a true bug, in fact) is a Western Leaf-Footed Bug of the genus Leptoglossus. They feed on the flowers and fruit of many species of plants. In Southern California gardens they are rarely present in significant numbers. Birds, frogs and lizards dig eating them, so unless you're suffering serious fruit damage, I'd just enjoy them. They're kind of cool looking. For recurring problems, try planting a 'Trap Crop' such as sunflowers that the bugs enjoy more than pomegranates. Toss the sunflowers once the flowers begin to fade or use pesticide to avoid making a new breeding ground. If all else fails, try 'Take Down Spray' (it's Organic).

Laura Z said...

Erick, thanks for your control tips. I am interested to hear if they have been effective for any readers.

I do not think these bugs are cool - especially when they are flying TOWARDS me because I've disturbed them, or when they are destroying my fruit.

I disagree with the myth that Leptoglossus is not present in large numbers in California. Someone is in denial. Based on the comments to this post so far there are a few gardeners who, like me, ARE suffering serious crop damage. This year I had TOTAL CROP LOSS from these noxious pests.

Lucy Ann said...

I live in las Vegas and had many of these bugs 2 years ago. i called a local nursery and they told me they were leaf bugs which come form too much watering. at the time I thought i was doing my tree a favor by giving it a good soaking every 3 weeks. so I turned down the watering and the bugs come very few and far between now. i also thought that the bugs which bore into the fruit are a different red spider type of bug but I could be wrong. Ever since that experience i be sure to leave some split pomegranates on the tree and when the birds come to eat they eat the bugs too. The year I had the bugs I had a lot of birds. Another thing that works is to have your kids or some unsuspecting person pick the fruit and since the bugs hide so well they never know. What people don't know won't hurt them. Sneaky!! Ok now my problem is what to do about a peeling bark. does anyone know?

Riss said...

Not fun! I'm growing several pomegranate trees now and these bugs sound awful. They aren't common in Florida, are they? I do NOT like bugs and I do NOT like the fact that they'd ruin my plants!

Phrustrated in Phoenix said...

This is my third summer of having my pom. trees, and my first year of having these bugs...that I realized anyway. I had my face right in the branches of one of my trees, and noticed one for the first time, it jumped off the fruit, right at me and flew away. It scared the bajeebas out of me!
The up side to this, I have more Cardinals in my yard than ever before...and I'm not talking the football team! :)
I haven't noticed any fruit falling yet, or any damage from these bugs but they are covering my trees. Ughh! {:^(

Gregory Carrier said...

You can make a spray bottle of soap and water for a contact killer (smothers insects). It works better on the little red nymphs that look a lot like assassin bugs, but slows down the big ones so you can grab 'em.

Mardiros Maadenjian said...

Pomegranate is native of Armenia and is one of the symbols of the country. Even, there is a village called Pomegranate in Armenian where the fruit have originated. It is said that pomegranate has 365 seeds, one for each day of the year. Alegend says that a man in love must open a fruit and feed his beloved each seed without dropping one, to prove his worthiness as a careful and attentive suitor.
The pomegranate fruit is the symbol of Armenians as representing fertility, abundance and marriage.

Anonymous said...

Same problem here! Please help me save my pomegranates!!!

regina said...

The only thing that works (for me) is to spray the fruit with the hose when I see the pests. I've saved a lot of fruit this way and kept it all organic. Shame to spend that much water but it's worked wonderfully. The fruit is happy and birds -- that eats these pests -- have moved in to help! My tree is VERY happy this year.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your blog. There should be an easier way to find out more info on pests and their removal. This bug is all over my pomegran. tree, we have a lot of lizards and birds but apparently not enough to do in these pests!

Anonymous said...

This is from Long Beach, CA. I found a lot of Pomegranate Pests on the fruits on my little tree. Sprayed diluted Pine Sole on them and they flew away and came back a few days later. Today I sprayed them again. May have to do again, but better than doing nothing.
C M Joseph

Anonymous said...

I live in Fresno CA. I am fortunate enough to have a beautiful 50+yr old tree. It has survived so many things including a fire. However these ugly bugs are a trying matter. First noticed them 4yrs ago. My friend who lives roughly a mile away was having a problem with her cherry tree. Her father works in Agriculture and deals with pests on a regular basis. He warned that these guys would bore into fruit and lay eggs. They were attacking her cherries and I recognized them. She said I don't think it's very common on pomegranates. She gave me a spray that was something purchased over the counter at somewhere like Walmart, that said safe for fruit and veggies. We sprayed it before the fruit was ripe and our infested tree was cleared again. Yeah!!! Until the next year when they came back. Not sure if they migrate or just nest here. See each year we never get all the fruit out of our tree since it's soo big, so I have to wonder if we are providing a nursery for these guys or what. Their numbers decreased, but I have begun to notice the shine in the red seeds looks kind of dull this year and every now and then I see a seed that looks withered, sometimes even with green or black spots on them. Not cool. Now I am constantly second guessing if the bugs have done this or is this a new issue. Ugh! I miss the days when this tree was pest free. By the way, we don't water this tree constantly so I'm not so sure overwatering is what brought them here. We also have sunflowers in our garden and they went untouched by these bugs. Go figure.

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