University of FloridaSolutions for Your Life

Download PDF
Publication #ENY-412

Arthropod Management in Guava1

Jorge Peña and Mark Mossler2

The guava is subject to attack by several kinds of insects. Among the more important are guava whitefly, red-banded thrips, guava fruit moth, Caribbean fruit fly, mealybugs and several species of scales. Detailed life history and effective control measures for most of these pests still remain to be worked out.

Recommendations for effective control of insect pests are limited because only a few insecticides have been registered for use on guava. Some of these are not approved for use when fruit is present. Some of the most effective materials have not been approved. At the present time, EPA listings indicate that Pyrellin, Provado, Spin Tor 2SC, Azatin, Mycrotrol, Malathion, Logic, Endeavor, Surround, Esteem, Extinguish, Amdro, Knack, Floramite, Tame, Savey, Talstar, insecticidal soap, Bacillus thuringiensis, and Pyrenone are insecticides that are registered for use on guavas. Bacillus thuringiensis (Dipel) 2X, 4L is labeled for use on hornworms, leafrollers, omnivorous loopers and loopers.

The user must read the label carefully for more specific details on use. The local County Agricultural Extension office or farm chemical dealers may be able to provide more specific details on pest control materials.

Precautions and Restrictions

Guavas are a crop in which very little is known about the control measures concerning pests that attack them. It is the responsibility of the grower to take utmost care in selecting pesticide materials that are labeled for use in this crop. Even though certain insecticides are approved by the EPA for use on guavas, only certain labels that contain these specific insecticides may have guavas listed. If further information is needed contact the County Agricultural Extension Agent.

Under the FIFRA amendment of 1978 the grower may use a material (insecticide) that is legal and EPA approved for a pest on a crop for other non-listed pests as long as the user follows the label directions and rates for the approved pest.

The following materials are legal for use on guava in Florida (Table 1):

  • Bacillus thuringiensis (several trade names)- for use against certain Lepidopterous caterpillars.

  • Pyrellin (pyrethrins + rotenone)- for use against aphids, caterpillars, fruit-flies, leafhoppers, mites, thrips, weevils, and whiteflies at 1 - 2 pts per acre. No waiting period to harvest.

  • Pyrellin, Provado, Spin Tor 2SC, Azatin, Mycrotrol, Malathion, Logic, Endeavor, Surround, Esteem, Extinguish, Amdro, Knack, Floramite, Tame, Savey, Talstar

Specific Pests


Thrips are slender, yellowish with a red band on the abdomen, about 1.5 mm long. Red banded thrips can be found on the leaf upperside and underside. Red-banded thrips Selenothrips rubrocinctus (Giard) are often troublesome on guava and may cause defoliation and fruit russetting. When infestations are heavy, thrips feed on the entire surface of leaves, leaving the leaf with a characteristic silver color. Infested leaves are spotted on the upper surface with fecal deposits that turn reddish brown to black.

Control. Make frequent observations during summer and fall for any developing infestation. Pyrellin, Provado, and Malathion may be effective if used on a timely basis.

Guava Fruit Moths

Larvae of the guava fruit moth may cause considerable damage to guava by tunneling through the fruit. The larvae are whitish in color with a black head. They become pink as they approach maturity and attain a length of nearly ¼ inch.

Control. Satisfactory control measures have not been developed. Fruit that ripens first is less likely to be infested than that which ripens later; consequently, utilize early fruit and harvest it as soon as it matures. Caterpillars and Lepidopterous larvae may be controlled with Bacillus thuringiensis materials such as Dipel and XenTari and spinosad (SpinTor 2SC).

Caribbean Fruit Flies

The placeCaribbean fruit fly, Anastrepha suspensa (Loew) is also called the caribfly and guava fruit fly. The adults are small yellow-brown species 1/2 to 2 times larger than a house fly, with rather long, patterned wings (Figure 1). The Caribbean fruit fly infests mostly mature to overripe fruits (Figure 2). Eggs are laid singly and hatch in about 2-3 days. The larval period lasts 10-14 days, and pupation is in the soil under the tree and adults emerge after 15-19 days; These stages are prolonged in cool weather.

Figure 1. 

Adult of the Caribbean fruit fly.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Figure 2. 

Adult of the Caribbean fruit fly on a guava fruit.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Attacked guava fruit show signs of fruit fly feeding, fruits are softer on one side of the fruit, larvae can be seen tunneling through the pulp.

Control: Pyrellin and malathion may be effective if used on a timely basis. Paper or Delnet bags are effective if placed when the fruit is less than 1 inch in diameter (Figure 3). Cultural control can be aided by gathering all fallen and infested fruits and destroying them. Inundative releases of parasitoids have been successful in Florida although this has not been done on a commercial basis.

Figure 3. 

Bagging of fruit helps in obtaining 'fruit fly' free fruit.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]


The mites, Tegolophus guavae and Brevipalpus spp., cause damage to fruits and tender leaves. T. guavae is observed in early autumn, through winter and during spring months. The mites are most often observed on small fruit, causing pimples or deformations.

The flat mite, Brevipalpus spp., causes fruit to turn brown, smooth and shiny, with epidermal cracking (Figure 4). Mite populations develop resistance to pesticides very rapidly because they have such a short generation time. Soap or oil sprays may be an alternative control method.

Figure 4. 

Undamaged fruit (left), guava fruit blemished by Brevipalpus spp. (right).

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]


The greenish caterpillar, Strepsicrates smithiana webs tender leaves together and pupates on the leaves. It is observed periodically at different times of the year, without showing a definitive infestation trend.


The mealybug, Phenacoccus spp.,is regularly observed during the months of October, December, July and November. The adult female mealybugs are white, about 3 mm long, and covered with a white, mealy wax. The mealybug shelters in leaf axils, but they also move onto fruit and settle under the calyx or between touching fruits.


  • Diatect and Organic Plus, a premix of silicon dioxide (diatomaceous earth) + pyrethrin + piperonyl butoxide, is labeled on guava for aphids, caterpillars, fruit flies, leafhoppers, mites, stink bugs, thrips, weevils and whiteflies.

  • Pyrellin, a premix of pyrethrin + rotenone, is labeled on guava for aphids, caterpillars, fruit flies, leafhoppers, mites, thrips, weevils and whiteflies.

  • Fenoxycarb (Logic) may be used for control of fire ants on non-bearing groves.


Crane, J. H., and Mossler, M. 2006. Pesticides registered for tropical fruit in Florida. Fact Sheet HS177, Horticultural Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida.


Table 1. 

Insecticides registered for guava in Florida.

Chemical Name

Brand Name(s)

Pest(s) Controlled


Align, Azatin

general insecticide

Bacillus thuringiensis

Dipel, others

lepidoptera larvae

Beauveria bassiana


aphids, mealybugs, others






various insects, mites






various insects, mites



various insects, mites




Kaolin (clay)


barrier and irritant to various insects






Caribbean fruit fly, lepidoptera, scales, thrips

Potassium salts of fatty acids

Safer Soap

aphids, lace bugs, mealybugs, spidermites, others



aphids, whiteflies

Pyrethrin + rotenone


aphids, lepidoptera, thrips


Esteem ant bait



Knack, Esteem






SpinTor 2SC

lepidoptera larvae, mirids, thrips

Various refined horticultural oils

Sunspray, citrus spray oil, crop oil, FC 435-66, FC 455-88, others

aphids, mites, scales

1 For use with non-bearing trees only.

2 For nursery/nonbearing trees only.



This document is ENY-412 (IG072), one of a series of the Department of Entomology and Nematology, UF/IFAS Extension. Date first printed October 1993. Revised August 2006. Reviewed November 2013. Please visit the EDIS website at


Jorge Peña, professor, Entomology and Nematology Department, Tropical Research and Education Center, Homestead, and Mark Mossler, doctor of plant medicine, Agronomy Department/Pesticide Information Office, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The use of trade names in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information. UF/IFAS does not guarantee or warranty the products named, and references to them in this publication does not signify our approval to the exclusion of other products of suitable composition. Use pesticides safely. Read and follow directions on the manufacturer's label.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.