Raspberry beetle

The grubs of raspberry beetle can damage the fruits of raspberry, blackberry and other cane fruits.

Raspberry beetle (Byturus tomentosus) on Loganberry (Rubus hybrid). Credit: RHS/Entomology.

Quick facts

Common name: Raspberry beetle
Scientific name: Byturus tomentosus
Plants affected: Raspberry, blackberry, tayberry, loganberry
Main symptoms:  Fruits have dried up patches; may contain beetle grubs 
Most active: June to August

What is raspberry beetle?

It is the larvae of raspberry beetle that affects fruit. The larva feeds at the stalk end of the fruits. It is mainly a problem on summer-fruiting raspberries. Early fruits on autumn raspberries may be damaged, but those ripening after late August are less likely to be affected.

Symptoms

  • Damaged ripe berries have greyish-brown dried up patches at the stalk end
  • A brownish-white grub, up to 8mm (about 1/4in)  long, may be found inside the fruits

Control

If raspberry beetle has been a problem in previous seasons consider control actions before the crop develops. Check susceptible plants frequently as fruit develops so action can be taken before a damaging population has developed. When choosing control options you can minimise harm to non-target animals by starting with the methods in the non-pesticide control section. If this is not sufficient to reduce the damage to acceptable levels then you may choose to use pesticides. Within this group the shorter persistence pesticides (that are usually certified for organic growing) are likely to be less damaging to non-target wildlife than those with longer persistence and/or systemic action.

Non-pesticide control

  • Where possible tolerate some beetle damage, often only a small proportion of the crop is affected. Later ripening berries tend to be less affected
  • Encourage predators and other natural enemies in the garden such as birds, hedgehogs and ground beetles
  • A host plant odour (karimone) water trap is available from Agralan, Ken Muir, Harrod Horticultural and some other suppliers. This will trap both male and female beetles which may help reduce infestation levels.  
 

Pesticide control

In the past it has been advised that best control will be achieved by spraying raspberries when the first pink fruits are seen, with a second application two weeks later, however plants should not be sprayed when in flower due to the danger to pollinating insects and so spraying may be ill-advised.
  • Organic contact insecticides containing natural pyrethrins (e.g. Bug Clear Gun for Fruit & Veg, Neudorff Bug Free Bug and Larvae Killer). Several application of these short persistence products may be necessary to give good control. 
  • More persistent contact-action insecticides include the synthetic pyrethroids lambda-cyhalothrin (e.g. Westland Resolva Bug Killer), deltamethrin (e.g. Provanto Ultimate Fruit & Vegetable Bug Killer, Provanto Sprayday Greenfly Killer) and cypermethrin (e.g. Py Bug Killer)
Follow label instructions when using pesticides. On edible plants make sure the food plant is listed on the label and follow instructions on maximum number of applications, spray interval and harvest interval. Plants in flower should not be sprayed due to the danger to bees and other pollinating insects.
Inclusion of a pesticide product does not indicate a recommendation or endorsement by RHS Gardening Advice. It is a list of products currently available to the home gardener.

Download

Pesticides for gardeners (pdf document)

Biology

  • The 4mm (about 1/8in) long adult beetles are pale brown and they lay eggs on the flowers in May to mid-July
  • The young larvae feed at the stalk end of the developing fruit, but later move inside to feed on the central plug
  • In late summer, the fully-fed larvae move into the soil where they overwinter as pupae


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