My quince trees have just started flowering. For the past 7 years I've not been able to eat a single one because of insects stinging the fruit. The fruit is always full of worms.

Obviously I need to wait for pollination to have occurred before doing anything.

What is the best thing to do? Do I spray an insecticide? When do I spray? What non-insecticide alternatives are there?

I am aware of the plight of they honey bee, so I would prefer something that deters the insects from coming to the tree, rather than something that kills them. And the insects are only a problem when there is fruit on the tree. Of course, they are needed for pollination.

I'm not able to provide photos of the actual problem right now. I'm trying to prevent it from being a problem this season.

I have three trees, they're about 3m tall, about 1.5m in diameter. They're quite bushy, almost hedgy, but that's because they've not been pruned properly. They bare fruit about the size of apples, so it's not the ornamental variety.

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    Could you provide a photo? Identifying the problem and the insect would help answering this question. Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 6:09

2 Answers 2


Thank you for the clarification. The confusion arose because the fruits are not being 'stung'; this is a precise term meaning an insect inserting its sting into an offending object (often human) with the specific intention of defending itself against a perceived threat, usually causing much discomfort to the hapless victim. What's actually happening to your fruit is some flying insect is laying its eggs in them (or on the blossom) via its ovipositor, and the eggs hatch into larvae which are inside the fruits, rather than 'stinging' them, which is why I asked for clarification.

This behaviour is not uncommon (in the UK, it'd be codling moth) and it's often a moth of some sort - the big question is, which one is causing the problem. I note where you are in the world, and the pests you'll be getting there are likely to be different from other parts of the world. Identification of the pest is critical, and photographs of damaged fruits and the larvae within would have been very useful indeed, but I realise that is not possible now.

There is something called the Oriental Fruit Moth (Grapholita molesta) which is prevalent in more tropical regions of the world, and it does affect Cydonia (quince) fruits, so perhaps it's that. Link below gives information, including images, some of which you might recognise, and recommendations for treatment - pheremone traps appear to be an option, and it's one I'd recommend, even if it's just to find out when you need to spray the trees: Plantwise Technical Factsheet.

Whether this pest is the actual culprit is hard to say without more description of the larvae, its appearance, the appearance of affected fruits, and whether there are any other symptoms showing on the leaves or anywhere else. There may well be other pests in your area that could cause this problem.


You must have heard that our bees are in big trouble. It is wrong to spray at anytime when bees MIGHT be around. Are these hornets perhaps? Are they aggressive? When you walk by do they come after you?

The easiest solution is to go out at night with a flash light to get your quinces.

It would be nice to know which Quince you've got. There is only one true quince and then there are the flowering quinces. Is yours a tree or a dense shrub? One thing for sure is that spraying would be wrong. Quince flower within a short time period. The fruit is a major butterfly food for their larvae. And we've got some problems with a few of those species as well.


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