A survey of the arthropod pests associated with commercial pomegranates, Punica granatum (Lythraceae), in South Africa.
Little local information is available on pomegranate cultivation, especially on the pests affecting production and fruit quality. An extensive survey of the arthropods associated with commercial pomegranates, Punica granatum (Lythraceae), was therefore conducted over a period of 20 months from September 2006 to April 2008 in selected production orchards. Twelve orchards in nine districts of the Western Cape Province were inspected monthly and two spot surveys were done in the other major pomegranate-growing areas of the Northern Cape, North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo Provinces of South Africa. A total of 35 insects and one mite species of economic importance was recorded. Of these, the most serious pests were the false codling moth, Thaumatotibia leucotreta (Meyrick), which damaged the fruit, the long tailed mealybug, Pseudococcus longispinus (Targioni Tozzetti), and various thrips species that affected both leaves and fruit. Small weevils of undescribed species were found to cause stunted growth due to larval and adult feeding on young shoots.