Olive tree pests and their natural treatment

There are different pests and diseases that an olive plantation must deal with. Some of these pests can be treated by applying chemicals, but it is also possible to do without chemical methods to combat them. In this case, the principle of prevention of pests and diseases is the best and this consists of the plant developing in its ideal conditions and with adequate care.

In this article, we will reveal which are the olive tree pests and their natural treatment .

Most common olive tree pests and their natural treatment

In summary, the pests that cause the greatest damage to olive trees and, therefore, greater economic losses to their farmers are:

  • Olive fly (Bactrocera oleae)
  • Olive tree moth or Prays (Prays oleae)
  • Olive wood scale (Saissetia oleae)
  • Olive leaf
  • Soapy olive or anthractosis
  • Olive verticillosis ( Verticillium dahliae )
  • Olive tree tuberculosis
  • Xylella fastidiosa
Olive tree pests and their natural treatment - Most common olive tree pests and their natural treatment

Olive fly (Bactrocera oleae)

It is one of the pests that generates the greatest problems in olive groves and is associated with the loss of quality of olive oil. First of all, this fly carries out the laying of eggs under the skin of the olive. Once the larvae emerges, it feeds on the pulp and, lastly, the pupa is formed and metamorphosis takes place, emerging the fly, which comes out breaking the olive skin and leaving characteristic holes in the fruit. The insect only attacks the fruit, causing it to lose weight and fall. In addition, the wounds in the olive can be invaded by fungi and bacteria, also losing quality in olive oil or even directly the use or consumption of these olives.

Fighting this pest naturally is difficult, but here are some natural olive fly prevention and treatment tips :

  • One method is to anticipate the olive harvest.
  • Place diammonium phosphate traps, which consists of making a 3% diammonium phosphate preparation in a bottle and hanging them from the olive tree canopy.
  • Use synthetic preparations of fly sex hormone, Spiroacetate, or the insecticide Spinosad, whose active principle is obtained from the natural fermentation of a bacterium.
Olive tree pests and their natural treatment - Olive tree fly (Bactrocera oleae)

Olive tree moth or Prays (Prays oleae)

This insect has three types of generations. One that feeds on the leaves of the olive tree (filófaga), another on the flowers (anthrophagous) and the last one on the fruits (carpófaga). Depending on the type of generation, the damage to the plant varies. The philosophical generation generates losses, especially in olive trees in formation, with alterations in their development. The damages of the anthrophagous generation depend on the flowering and those of the carpophagous generation, are the most important, since they damage the fruit and cause it to fall.

The natural treatment for olive moth includes:

  • Use natural enemies such as Chrysoperla carnea , which is a predator that feeds on its eggs, larvae, and pupae.
  • Use Bacillus thurigiensis (Bt) toxin , especially during infection by the antóphaga generation.
Olive tree pests and their natural treatment - Olive tree moth or Prays (Prays oleae)

Olive wood scale (Saissetia oleae)

It is the third most important pest, economically speaking, that affects olive cultivation . It is an infection produced only by the females of this species of mealybug and that, in addition, is parthenogenic, so it does not require fertilization to have offspring. In fact, the presence of males in Europe has not been identified.

The mealybugs of the olive suck the sap from the tree and weaken. They also produce sugary compounds such as molasses, which favors the development of fungi such as bold. These fungi develop by covering the branches and leaves of the olive tree, making photosynthesis difficult.

The natural treatments mealybug olive include:

  • Carry out a pruning that facilitates the correct aeration of the tree canopy because it hinders the development of the pest.
  • The biological fight with Metaphycus barletti.
  • The use of natural insecticides made with mineral oil.

Other pests of the olive tree

Although the previous three pests are the ones that most frequently affect the olive tree and cause greater economic losses, there are others that also affect the cultivation of the olive tree less frequently. Among these other pests of the olive tree are:

  • Olive leaf: this pest is caused by a fungus and affects the productivity of the olive tree. It is more common in rainy climates and sensitive varieties and is treated with copper.
  • Soapy olive or anthractosis: caused by the infection of toxin-producing fungi that dry the branches.
  • Verticillosis of the olive tree ( Verticillium dahliae ): produced by a fungus in the soil. It is difficult to treat, so resistant varieties are used.
  • Olive tree tuberculosis: bacterial infection that weakens the tree.
  • Xylella fastidiosa : caused by a bacteria that wreaks havoc. Currently, there are varieties of olive trees tolerant to this condition.
Olive tree pests and their natural treatment

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