Fruit Trees in Permaculture: Pomegranate Pests
Updated: Apr 12
As an enthusiastic first time farmer, you can imagine our excitement when our pomegranate trees came alive with a host of flowers in spring. We waited eagerly for these flowers to turn into fruit, which they did. However, when the fruit became the size that can be seen below in the photo, we discovered that almost all of them had a black hole resembling a fruit borer, having eaten it away from the inside :-(
But on cutting open the fruit, we did not find any insect inside it! We didn't really know what was going on. On doing some research, we discovered that our crop was attacked by the Anar Butterfly, or fruit borer. "Adult butterflies lay eggs at the time of fruit setting on flowers and fruits. Larvae develop inside the fruit and these larvae bore out of the fruits. Black excreta of caterpillars are commonly seen on fruits. Its damage is noticed in thirty to fifty days old fruits of pomegranate and the adults prefer thirty to fifty days old fruits for egg laying and most of the eggs are laid on the calyx portion of the individual fruits."
We were obviously quite disappointed by the loss of the entire crop of pomegranate, but could not do much. We made a note to spray the flowers and fruit next year around the time of fruit formation with Spray of Neem Seed Kernel Extract (NSKE-5%) or Neem oil (3 %) in the 3rd week of May. Repeat the spray twice in the Ist week of July at 15 days interval. These neem based insecticides act as ovipositional deterrent.