Kiwi insects and pests

Kiwi insects and pests

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The kiwi plant, called actinidia, is native to China and has been cultivated in Italy since the 1980s, finding widespread use both at a professional and amateur level. The species has adapted very well to the climatic conditions of our distribution areas, and its fruits are widely required by the market for their flavor and wholesomeness that is their acknowledged.

Consequently, over the years there has been an expansion of the areas dedicated to this particular species, which with its lianiform bearing requires supports to climb on and can embellish pergolas and arches in private gardens as a climber.

Actinidia is suitable for cultivation with the organic method, based on fertilization with natural organic and mineral products and on methods with low environmental impact for the defense against possible adversities. Usually, compared to other fruit trees, actinidia is more resistant and requires fewer phytosanitary interventions, but we must not, however, completely lower our guard. In addition to fungal and bacterial diseases, actinidia can be damaged by some parasitic insects, which are described below, along with some good suggestions for keeping them in check with biological methods.


Eulia is a small moth (butterfly), brown-gray in color and wingspan of about 1.5 cm. The larvae are slightly longer, of a greenish color with brown shades and a light green head. It is a very polyphagous insect, capable of attacking multiple plant species, making 3 generations a year. The first flicker is noticed at the end of March and the others from June to the end of September. The damage that eulia does on kiwifruit consists in superficial erosions of the fruits, which leave scars and extensive suberifications on the skin, and in severe cases lead them to rot. The insect can be eradicated with products based on Bacillus thuringiensis, effective against various harmful moths in the larval stage.


The waxy Metcalfa is a tiny insect covered with wax and brown (whitish in juvenile forms) which performs a single generation per year. The hatching of the eggs occurs from late spring to early summer, and the young forms that are born produce a lot of honeydew, which abundantly smears the leaves, but all in all the damage caused is mainly aesthetic. To clean up the plants from the parasite, treatments with Marseille soap diluted in water and sprayed on the foliage in the coolest hours of the day can be done.

White cochineal

The white cochineal that attacks actinidia (Pseudalacapsis pentagon) is polyphagous but prefers this fruit species together with mulberry, peach and cherry. Strongly attacked plants undergo an overall deterioration with drying of the branches. The fruits classic Actinidia (Hayward variety) are saved from the attacks, being hairy, but not the kiwifruit of varieties hairless, like those yellow flesh.

Against the cochineal, which begins to lay in April-May, treatments with white mineral oil can be performed, but in the presence of a few plants, a vigorous cleaning of the stem and branches with rigid brushes may be sufficient. The fern macerates also help to keep mealybugs away and can be very useful as a preventative.

In professional organic farms also you can use effectively the specific pheromone traps for catching males and avoid in this way the reproductions.

Green leafhopper

The green leafhopper, as the scientific name suggests, Empoasca vitisPreferably attacks the screws, but behaves similarly sull'actinidia, laying their eggs in the spring on the ribs of kiwi leaves and making three generations per year. The damage caused by this insect consists in the sucking of sap from the leaves, with desiccation and curling, can be contained by treating with pyrethrum, a natural broad spectrum insecticide.

Red spider

It is a small mite that attacks various plant species and which, depending on the environmental conditions, can go through many generations a year. The females overwinter fertilized in the bark of the host plants and in spring, after a short feeding period, they begin to lay eggs. In the presence of this parasite that we find both in the garden and in the orchard, you can see very fine cobwebs on the underside of the leaves, with dense colonies of these tiny mites about half a millimeter in size. The damage that the red spider causes to the plants is caused by the mouth stylets with which it empties the cells by sucking the contents. The leaves discolor and turn yellow, even if the damage is limited in terms of severity, it is better to stem it with repellent macerates such as that based on garlic or nettle.

Noctuid Lepidoptera

The larvae of these polyphagous moths can climb onto the stem and branches of the actinidia and if this is in the budding phase they can cause damage by eating the young tender shoots. The symptoms of their attacks are similar to those caused by snails and snails, also having a predominantly evening and nocturnal habit, although the characteristic drooling should be distinguished from the latter. In the case of lepidoptera it is possible to treat with Bacillus thuringiensis.

Other parasites

Other polyphagous insects that affect actinidia in addition to other various plant species, are the fruit fly and the corn borer, which are treated with Tap Trap and Bacillus thuringiensis food traps respectively.

Video: Insect and Pest Management for Landscape Plants