Pest Damage to Fruit at Harvest

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  • Alfalfa mosaic virus
  • Blackmold lesions
  • Bacterial speck lesions
  • Bacterial spot lesions
  • Late blight discoloration
  • Tomato spotted wilt virus


  • Armyworm damage
  • Flea beetles damage
  • Lygus bug damage
  • Stink bug damage
  • Tomato fruitworm damage

Monitor fruit damage at harvest to identify pests that escaped your management program. Look for the presence or any evidence of armyworms, fruitworms, stink bugs, lygus, bacterial spot and speck, spotted wilt, buckeye rot, blights and molds, and keep a record of particular problems that you observe. Knowledge of the current year's problems will help you plan for next year’s practices. There are no state mandated rejection levels for pest damage or fruit defects in the harvested crop. Tolerances are set by individual buyers.

Use the photos below to distinguish among symptoms due to various molds and insects. Names link to more information on identification and management.

Click on photos to enlarge

Alfalfa mosaic virus
Identification tip: Some fruit infected with alfalfa mosaic virus develop a solid brown necrosis over the surface.

Blackmold lesions
Identification tip: Damaged fruit have black or brown lesions, brown flecks, and can develop sunken areas.

Bacterial speck
Bacterial speck lesions
Identification tip: Fruit lesions are slightly raised and small, varying in size from tiny flecks to 0.125 inch in diameter. Fruit lesions are superficial, seldom penetrating more than a few cells deep.

Late blight
Bacterial spot lesions
Identification tip: Spots become brown and scabby as fruit ripens.

Late blight
Late blight discoloration
Identification tip: Damaged fruit are discolored with a brown surface and often remain firm.

Tomato spotted wilt virus
Tomato spotted wilt virus
Identification tip: Symptoms of tomato spotted wilt virus on ripe fruit include chlorotic spots and blotches, often with concentric rings.

Beet armyworm
Beet armyworm or western yellowstriped armyworm damage
Identification tip: Look for shallow dry scars where armyworm fed on the surface.

Flea beetles damage
Identification tip: Flea beetles may feed directly on ripe fruit, just below the calyx. Damage is usually seen only in very late-season plantings where leaves are senescing due to maturity, lack of water, or powdery mildew. Damage from fruit beetles may result in offgrade fruit.

Lygus bug damage
Lygus bug damage
Identification tip: Damage is similar to that of stink bug damage. The area below the feeding site, however, dries out instead of becoming corky, causing the surface of the fruit to crack slightly. Therefore, damage is not as apparent.

Stink bug damage
Stink bug damage
Identification tip: Damage on ripe fruit causes yellow irregular blotches. Stink bugs inject a yeast, causing fruit to become watery.

Tomato fruitworm damage
Tomato fruitworm damage
Identification tip: Look for water cavities contaminated with feces. Damage is caused by tunneling into fruit.

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