How to Manage Pests
UC Pest Management Guidelines
Driedfruit beetles, also known as sap beetles, are a complex of several closely related species in the family Nitidulidae that have similar life histories and resemble each other in appearance. The driedfruit beetle, Carpophilus hemipterus, is the most common species, but the Freeman sap beetle, C. freemani, and the confused sap beetle, C. mutilatus, are also common and can be the most abundant in some orchards. Carpophilus marginellus, Haptoncus luteolus, and Urophorus humeralis are sometimes present in lesser numbers.
Adults are small brown or black beetles with or without lighter spots on the wings, depending on the species. They range in size from 0.1 to 0.2 inch long and have clubbed antennae. The wings do not cover the last two to three abdominal segments. Larvae are white and 0.1 to 0.2 inch long when mature. They have tan head capsules, three pairs of true legs, and two hornlike structures on the anal end.
Driedfruit beetles damage figs in three ways: their presence in the fruit causes downgrading or rejection of the fruit, they transmit spoilage organisms that cause fruit souring, and they increase the attractiveness of the fruit to other pests such as vinegar flies and navel orangeworm.
Early harvest and orchard sanitation can help reduce the damage potential of these pests as can the use of less susceptible varieties. Trapping of driedfruit beetles in large containers containing cull fruit, water, and yeast as a bait may be effective in reducing the population if done before the fruit ripens and becomes attractive. Once the fruit begins to ripen, insecticides may be necessary.
Driedfruit beetles have an extremely wide host range and will infest any ripe or fermenting fruit. They can fly distances of several miles to find a suitable host. If possible, locate fig orchards as far as possible from other host orchards such as stone fruits and citrus.
Monitoring and Treatment Decisions
Spray the trees when trap counts begin to drop off; driedfruit beetles are infesting the fruit at this time. Several sprays may be necessary under heavy beetle population pressure. Treat from a few hours before to just after sunset, which is the period of greatest beetle activity.
A dormant treatment may be useful in reducing overwintering populations in isolated orchards that have experienced severe problems with this pest. This treatment is useful only if the population resides within the orchard and there are no nearby citrus groves, vineyards or other hosts. To determine if the population comes from within the orchard, evaluate trap catches. If beetles are migrating into the orchard, trap catches will be higher in border traps; if not, they should be uniform throughout the orchard.
UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Fig