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Peach Tree Borer

borers, larvae and insect

PEACH TREE BORER, a North American sesiid moth (Conopia exitiosa), one of the most important and serious enemies of the peach in the United States. The principal injury occurs east of the Rocky mountains, from Canada south to Florida. It attacks trees of all ages. Its original food plants were probably wild cherry and wild plum. It also attacks nectarines, apricots, prunes, almonds, and plums, but is pre-eminently injurious to the peach. The adult moth is a clear-winged creature resembling a wasp at first glance. It has a wing-spread of about I* in. The eggs are laid about the base of the tree, and the larvae bore rap idly under the bark and downwards toward the collar. The larva feeds and grows rapidly, and remains in the larval state from sum mer or fall through the following winter, transforming to pupa in the spring or summer, enclosed in a silken cocoon in which are incorporated bits of bark and excrement. Many larvae may be found in the same peach trunk, the number varying from 2 or 3 to 4o or so.

Ninety such larvae have been found in one peach tree six or seven years old.

In the old days much laborious hand work was done in con trolling this insect. The earth was removed from around the crown, and the borers removed with a knife. About 192o, however, paradichlorobenzene came into use. This is a white crystalline substance which vaporizes readily. The bases of the trees should be cleaned, and the material should then be applied evenly in a circular band i in. or 2 in. wide at a distance of about 1 in. to 2 in. from the tree trunk. Then it is covered with earth arranged so as to make a cone-shaped mound around the tree. The fumes of the chemical will kill the larval borers.

More recently emulsions of ethylene dichloride have been effectively used in controlling the borers.

For an illustrated practical account of this insect, see

Farmers' Bulletin No. 1246, U.S. Department of Agriculture. (L. 0. H.)