How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Seasonal development and life cycle—Green fruitworms

Green fruitworm eggs are laid on twigs and begin to hatch when fruit buds begin to reach the cluster stage. Early in the season, larvae feed on leaves, occasionally tying them loosely together with silk. They begin attacking fruit at petal fall; fruit may be almost entirely devoured or they may have only a few bites taken out of them. Green fruitworms have only one generation a year, and damage occurs only in spring on very young fruit. In late May they drop to the ground where they burrow 2 to 4 inches into the soil to pupate. They overwinter as pupae and emerge as adults and lay their eggs in the spring; an exception is the humped green fruitworm, which lays its eggs in fall.

Larvae feed on leaves early in the season
Larvae feed on leaves early in the season

Superficial damage on plum
Superficial damage on plum


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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