Insects that attack the olive tree

The olive tree is a plant that is very resistant to attacks by pests. Among the various shrub crops, the olive grove has the great advantage of creating a relatively balanced ecosystem, where not only insects can be found that can damage the plant, but also many of them. its natural predators. , which in most cases prevent the proliferation of harmful pests.

However, under particular conditions of temperature and humidity, it can be attacked by insects. Therefore, those who wish to practice natural cultivation cannot do without being attentive, learning to recognize possible threats and intervening if necessary with the methods allowed by organic farming.

Below we will illustrate the main species of insects that attack the olive tree, the damage they cause and the remedies that can be used to combat them. We do not think exclusively of insecticide treatments, but we keep in mind that in order to respect the environment as much as possible through the cultivation of the olive tree, the principle of prevention is applied, especially in the case of small plants.

Contents [Ocultar]

  • Olive fly (Bactrocera oleae)

    • How to Control the Olive Fly

  • Olive moth (Prays oleae)

  • Half a cochineal peppercorn (Saissetia oleae)

  • Olive tree borer (Palpita unionalis)

  • Yellow and red rhodium wood (Zeuzera pyrina and Cossus Cossus)

  • Phloeotribus scarabaeoides (Phloeotribus scarabaeoides)

  • Oziorrhynchus (Otiorrhynchus cribricollis)

  • Cotton olive (Euphyllura olivina)

  • Mites

  • Not just insects: birds and rabbits


olive fly ( Bactrocera oleae )

This diptera represents one of the most harmful species for the olive tree. In years of heavy infestation, the oil fly can compromise production both in terms of quality and quantity.

Recognition . The adult olive fly is easily recognizable: it is a smaller fly than the classic house fly, it has a bay with some darker spots and transparent wings. The olive fly is mainly present in the regions of southern Italy, where it finds its optimum temperature conditions and where plants of the genus Oleae, both spontaneous and cultivated, are widespread everywhere.

Damage caused to the olive grove . The fly lays its eggs inside the olive drupe, where it leaves a typical bite mark. The stinger releases sugars, proteins and fluids that the adults feed on. The larva, on the other hand, is born inside the olives, where it digs tortuous tunnels, progressively larger, due to its growth. When ready to pupate, it consumes the mesocarp to below the epidermis and falls to the ground, where it pupates. Olives damaged by the insect can be invaded by microorganisms that cause putrefaction, with the resulting drop. Damaged olives produce oil of poor quality, more acidic than normal and with a compromised aroma, due to the musty smell it acquires. Additionally, the olive fly is believed to be one of the people responsible for transmitting the olive pillory ( Pseudomonas savastanoi ).

How to Control the Olive Fly

In terms of control, it is good practice to aim for preventive action. It should be noted that infestations of Bactrocera oleae they are subject to strong variations according to seasonal trends: low temperatures, or high summer temperatures, or dry spring periods can hinder the flickering, development and reproduction of this insect. In the wild, oil fly populations are controlled by numerous entomophages. Among them are Opius concolor present mainly in southern Italy, which can also be bred to make mass distributions in olive groves as a biological control. It is good practice to keep a spontaneous flora in the olive groves, where these entomophages can find refuge and food, while maintaining the balance of the olive grove’s agroecosystem. Always as a preventive measure, to reduce autumn attacks, it is possible to harvest early olives . As well copper treatments carried out for certain diseases of the olive tree, have positive effects in the treatment of the fly.

Trap . Food traps such as the Tap Trap can also be used in an organic olive grove, both to monitor and catch flies en masse. A useful recipe for oil fly bait is a pint of unscented ammonia and a few sardine heads (or other raw fish scraps). Sfera Trap is more of a lightweight chromatographic trap that can be used for monitoring.

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