Figs (Ficus carica) are a species of small trees native to the tropical regions of the Mediterranean and western Asia. They are often cultivated as ornamental trees, but they are also grown in many parts of the world for their delicious “fruit.”
The fruit is edible, but it is not widely consumed outside of parts of Africa and Asia. The figs can be used in cooking and in drinks such as smoothies. They can also be eaten fresh or dried or used for making medicines.
The tree is also an important source of timber and paper pulp, which can be made into paper pulp from the wood pulp left.
That said, the key to cultivating healthy fig trees pest is learning how to spot common pests and diseases.
What is eating my fig tree leaves: Common Insect Pests
There are over 300 fig tree insects that will eat the leaves of a fig tree. The majorities of these pests are small and can only be seen with a hand lens.
However, some can be seen with the naked eye or at close range. The most common fig tree pests include:
Fig wasp (Hymenoptera: Fig wasp family)
Also known as the “fig leaf roller,” this insect spends its life laying its eggs on fig leaves, which hatch into caterpillars that begin to eat tiny holes in the leaf.
As they feed, they roll themselves up into a ball and chew their way out of the leaf and back to their pupae in a sheltered area under loose bark or on another leaf.
The rolled-up caterpillar has a yellowish body with black markings along its back and sides, while its pupae is off-white in color with brown spots on its body.
Fig tree borer
The fig tree borer is a serious pest of fig trees in warm climates. It can cause fruit loss and even death if left untreated.. The adult moths have white wings with black veins, which are about 1/4 inch long when at rest.
In April or May, they emerge from their cocoons to lay their eggs on the underside of leaves, where they will hatch in about 3 to 4 days. The larvae will eat the leaves and form a light brown pupa.
When these pupae fall off the tree, they release a pheromone that attracts other Fig Tree pests.
The best defence against borers is to cover the tree with netting or plastic wrap to prevent them from laying eggs. If you see Fig Tree Borers on your fig trees, a strong spray of insecticide can effectively get rid of them.
However, be aware that some borers are resistant to chemical sprays, and it’s vital to seek the advice of a professional before applying chemicals.
Planthopper (Hemiptera: Aphididae)
This insect is found on many fig trees. It attacks the leaves by chewing holes in them, but they will also attack fruits, new shoots, and even buds. Their feeding can cause defoliation of the plant and can affect fruit production.
However, they are easy to control with insecticide sprays or by handpicking with a pair of tweezers or fingernail clippers.
Carpenter worm (Trichogramma)
This is a tiny caterpillar that burrows through the tree’s bark, causing the tree to weaken. You may notice that your fig tree starts to wilt, has discolored leaves or even looks dead.
The damage can be controlled by using a spray of insecticide.
Carpenter ant (Camponotus)
Carpenter ants build their own nests by chewing tunnels in wood. They may attack fruit and new shoots on trees, which can cause defoliation and weaken the tree.
Carpenter ants have been found in southern states in large numbers during late summer and fall. The population seems to increase until they die off in winter, so it is essential to check your trees periodically for signs of infestation.
If you do find evidence of carpenter ants on your trees, you will want to look at some tips for controlling them.
Other pests found on fig trees include:
- Darkling ground beetle
- Dried fruit beetle
- Earwig Freeman sap beetle
- Confused sap beetle
- Fig beetle
- Fig mite
- Fig scale
- Fig tree borer
- Navel orangeworm
Fig Tree Pest Control
Fig tree pest control is vital in maintaining the health of your fig trees. Fig tree pests can cause serious damage to your trees and may even kill them if they are not taken care of properly.
Keeping your fig trees healthy will help to ensure that they continue to produce quality fruits and thrive.
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