Agriculture: Caneberries Pest Management Guidelines

Raspberry Crown Borer

  • Pennisetia marginata
  • Description of the Pest

    Although the adult raspberry borer is a moth, it resembles a yellowjacket wasp. Belonging to the family of clearwing moths, it has a wingspan of about 1 inch and has a black body with four yellow horizontal stripes on the abdomen as well as stripes on the thorax. The legs are yellow, and the feathery antennae, unlike the short antennae of a yellowjacket wasp, curve outward from the head.

    The raspberry crown borer takes 2 years to complete its life cycle. The female raspberry crown borer moth lays up to 140 reddish brown eggs most often on the underside edges of caneberry leaflets in late summer. Once hatched, larvae migrate to the base of the caneberry plant where they either dig into the base of cane and form a blisterlike hibernaculum or find a protected area in the bark and stay there for the winter. With the onset of spring the following year, the larva begins to burrow galleries through the crown of the plant and continues to do so through the first summer. The second winter is spent in the roots; the larva is about 0.4 to 0.9 inches (1.3–2 cm) long at this time. The second summer, the excavation continues in the roots and crown. At midsummer of the second year, the larva is full-grown, measuring 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5–3.3 cm) long. It undergoes a short pupation period of 2 to 3 weeks in the burrow in the crown and emerges as an adult moth. Adult moths are active from early August to late September and may be seen during the day resting on foliage.


    A caneberry plant that is infested with a raspberry crown borer larva will begin to wither and visibly wilt because of the physical damage to vascular tissue, especially in the second year of infestation. A hole at the base of the plant in the crown with sawdustlike frass at the entrance is also indicative of raspberry crown borer activity.


    The best way to manage the raspberry crown borer is to prevent its intrusion into the caneberry field through the cultural controls. In the event that this pest establishes itself in the field, the chemical controls below may prove useful.

    Biological Control

    There is no commercially acceptable biological control for raspberry crown borer in the field at this time.

    Cultural Control

    The use of clean planting stock is necessary to reduce the movement of infested plant stock from one field to another. The removal of wild blackberries surrounding the field can help reduce populations of raspberry crown borer.

    Organically Acceptable Methods

    Cultural controls are organically acceptable.

    Monitoring and Treatment Decisions

    Monitoring this pest is difficult because it is hidden away in the crown of the plant. By the time the damage is noticed, it is too late to do anything effective. If a population becomes established in the planting, treatments may be warranted.

    Common name Amount per acre REI‡ PHI‡
    (Example trade name) (hours) (days)
    Not all registered pesticides are listed. The following are ranked with the pesticides having the greatest IPM value listed first—the most effective and least harmful to natural enemies, honey bees, and the environment are at the top of the table. When choosing a pesticide, consider information relating to air and water quality, resistance management, and the pesticide's properties and application timing. Always read the label of the product being used.
      (Diazinon 50 W) 4 lb 120 (5 days) 7
      COMMENTS: Apply in a minimum of 100 gal water/acre drench to crown and lower canes before buds break in early spring. Repeat yearly as necessary. Avoid drift and runoff into surface waters. Where caneberry is grown near waterways, do not use diazinon. Highly toxic to bees; do not spray directly or allow to drift onto blooming crops or weeds where bees are foraging.
    Restricted entry interval (REI) is the number of hours (unless otherwise noted) from treatment until the treated area can be safely entered without protective clothing. Preharvest interval (PHI) is the number of days from treatment to harvest. In some cases the REI exceeds the PHI. The longer of two intervals is the minimum time that must elapse before harvest.
    * Permit required from county agricultural commissioner for purchase or use.
    1 Rotate chemicals with a different mode-of-action Group number, and do not use products with the same mode-of-action Group number more than twice per season to help prevent development of resistance. For example, the organophosphates have a Group number of 1B; chemicals with a 1BGroup number should be alternated with chemicals that have a Group number other than 1B. Mode of action Group numbers are assigned by IRAC (Insecticide Resistance Action Committee).
    Text Updated: 12/09
    Treatment Table Updated: 06/15