Common Pomegranate Pests
The pomegranate is a fruit with tough, leathery, red skin and an interior made of small sacs of tart, red fruit, and seeds separated by a spongy white membrane. Indigenous to an area in Asia from Iran to northern India, it is currently cultivated worldwide in semi-arid or subtropical regions. Of the two species of pomegranate, only one is cultivated, but there are many different varieties within that one species. The fruit has relatively few pests compared to other cultivated fruits and vegetables.
Leaf-Footed Plant Bug
This 2-inch flying insect bores into the pomegranate, causing the fruit inside to rot and fall to the ground. The holes caused by the insects easily allow pathogens to enter the fruit, and the fruit tends to dry out where the insect has been eating. The common solution to these pests is to spray malathion 57 EC, a pesticide.
This pest lays eggs on the flower buds and calyx of young fruit. When the eggs hatch, the caterpillars bore into the fruit through the calyx, eating the inside of the fruit and ruining it. These caterpillars can cause the loss of an entire crop. A common way of dealing with them is to spray the pomegranate trees with pesticides twice 30 days apart during egg-laying season.
Also called the woolly aphid, this pest lives on the leaves or roots and feeds on plants juices. Mealybugs are very small, numerous where found, reproduce rapidly and have a characteristic waxy covering. The breed in loose, white, cottony nests on the plant. They are usually treated either by physical removal, introduction of predators, or by pesticides. The best strategy, however, is prevention through cultivation of strong plants.
Whiteflies are small, white moth-like insects that suck the juices out of plant leaves. They live in groups on the underside of leaves, and their feeding leaves a residual honeydew on the surface of the leaves. Whitefly infestation leads to yellowing, dying leaves and can cause the plant to die. Heavy infestation of these pests is difficult to control. The most successful approach is prevention through raising healthy plants, and eliminating problem plants before they spread. Pesticides are not the best option, since the whitefly is relatively resistant. A better strategy is physical removal and the introduction of natural predators.