How to Manage Pests
UC Pest Management Guidelines
Driedfruit beetles, also known as sap beetles, are a complex of several closely related species in the family Nitidulidae that have similar life histories and resemble each other in appearance. The driedfruit beetle is the most common species, but the other two are also common and can be the most abundant in some fields. Other species are sometimes present in lesser numbers.
Adults are small brown or black beetles with or without lighter spots on the wings, depending on species. They range in size from 0.1 to 0.2 inch (3–5 mm) long and have clubbed antennae. The wings do not cover the last two to three abdominal segments. Eggs are laid in fruit, where larvae develop and feed; larvae are white and 0.1 to 0.2 inch (3–5 mm) long when mature. They have tan head capsules, three pairs of true legs, and two hornlike structures on the anal end. Pupation takes place in the soil.
When melons are approaching maturity and are at the half slip stage, an entry point into the soft fruit tissue develops. Driedfruit beetles can enter at this site and start feeding. They can also enter at any open site caused mechanically or by other insects.
This pest builds up on any rotting fruit (such as citrus, stone fruit, grapes, and figs), which increases the problem as the summer season progresses. Monitor the field for the presence of these beetles. Because of the minor pest status of driedfruit beetles, nothing is presently registered for its control. These beetles are generally controlled when treatments are applied for other pests. When possible, remove or disc nearby rotting fruit, especially when it is upwind from the field; beetles can fly for some distance downwind. Multiple disc, if necessary, of infested fields promptly after final harvest.
UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines:
UC ANR Publication 3445
E. T. Natwick, UC Cooperative Extension, Imperial County
J. J. Stapleton, UC IPM Program, Kearney Agricultultural Center, Parlier
C. S. Stoddard, UC Cooperative Extension, Merced & Madera counties