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Turkey Creek Lane · Japanese Beetles Eat Peaches

Our peach tree is heavy with fruit. DH planted it 7 years ago.

We had peaches!

Bad frosts and windstorms had taken our peaches before they reached marble size in previous years.  But, this year we had peaches turning golden, pink and red.  I dreamed of peach jams, cobblers, pies and crisps.  

I started checking the fruit daily, feeling peaches to see if they had softened. As the summer days lengthened, our tree, heavily laden with fruit, became as gorgeous and fragrant as any flower. 

I swear, I could smell the peaches ripening. Evidently so can Japanese Beetles.

 Yesterday disaster struck.

dsc00209.jpg Japanese Beetles devouring a “ripe” peach. 

Some peaches were ripe

BUT, every “ripe” peach was swarming with  and being devoured by Japanese beetles. Only the ripe peaches, mind you. The hard peaches, they left alone

DH and I grabbed ladders and sacks and began picking. We picked every peach we could. After soaking them to get rid of any insects I set them out on my counter as recommended here: http://tonytantillo.com/fruits/peaches.html

Some food experts recommend putting peaches into a paper bag to ripen. Others swear that the only way to have good ripe peaches is to only pick them at the moment of peak ripeness.

Mine were ready to eat after only a couple of days on the counter.

Soaking the peaches to get rid of any remaining insects.

How to tell if peaches are ripe:

Attached to the tree: Peaches are best picked when the fruit separates easily from the twigs. If it is hard to pull off the tree, it isn’t ripe!

Color: Green is definitely unripe, but you can’t use red color as an indicator of how ripe a peach is. Different peach varieties have differing amounts of red blush in their natural coloring. Pick them when the ground color changes from green to yellow, orange, red (or a combination). The skin of yellow-fleshed varieties ripens to an orange tint, while the skin of white-fleshed varieties changes from greenish- to yellow-white.

Softness: Unless you like your peaches very firm, pick your peaches with just a little “give” when gently pressed. Peaches at this stage are great for eating, freezing, and baking. Peaches won’t ripen very much after picking!  

Odor: The peaches should smell sweet and ripe

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  1. healingmagichands’s avatar

    How depressing! We aren’t getting any fruit of any kind at all around here because of the freeze we had at Easter time.


  2. barngoddess’s avatar

    what a beautiful tree…except for those awful beetles!

    I had a smilar experience except it didnt involve Japanese Beetles, it involved waterbugs in my pool….glad THATS over.


  3. jolynna’s avatar

    Thanks healingmagichands,

    This is the first year we have had fruit since I married my husband 3 years ago. We had a freeze one year. Last year we had a windstorm that blew all of the peaches off when they were marble sized.

    Hi Barngoddess,

    I haven’t actually been blogging long, but I started visiting your site last winter for more information and your opinion about missing children.

    I am glad your waterbut problem is over. The awful beetles are killing my organic gardening enthusiasm. Nothing seems to work.


  4. barngoddess’s avatar

    aww, dont give up. Organic gardening is a good thing!

    Gah, the missing children in our country is at an all time high. I feel a rant coming on so Ill save it for a long windy post over at the Res….


  5. terra4incognita’s avatar

    so sorry about your tree, what a shame to have these things ruin your gorgeous peaches. I hate these beetles! We have them here too (although not as bad this year as they have been in previous years), I usually see them on my rose of sharon bushes, eating the flowers. Gardens Alive may have an organic solution. I’ve heard of some sort of bag traps you could use, but I’m not sure how effective that would be when there are so many of them. I’m glad you are able to get at least some of the peaches.


  6. Terry’s avatar

    After the frost this Spring I didn’t think we would get any peaches, but low and be hold we probably got 1 1/2 dozen peaches…however when I went out to pick the first ones, I saw where some animal must have beat me to them. All my peaches were reduced to pits lying on the ground with one peach half eaten.
    Soooo sad !
    What do you think it was?

    So what can be done about the creature that attacked my peaches and Japanese beetles?


  7. jolynna’s avatar

    We had pits laying all over the ground after the beetles got out peaches.

    We were checking our peaches daily and didn’t see the beetles until our peaches got ripe. Did you see beetles?

    We have deer and as far as I know they haven’t bothered our peaches.

    Japanese beetles ruined every ripe peach before we ever saw the beetles. But, fortunately, there were still a lot of peaches on our tree that weren’t quite ripe at that time and that the beetles weren’t eating.

    We didn’t want to take any chances and picked our remaining peaches as they were so that the beetles wouldn’t get them too.

    Purdue University recommends pesticides every other day to prevent damage from beetles. My husband has used traps before for beetles getting his grapes. He said they didn’t save his grapes.



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