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If you’re out picking fruit with family, or even for yourself you may have noticed the odd tiny bugs on some mulberries.

Don’t worry if you think you’ve eaten one, they are mainly harmless and probably given you a boost of protein if anything.

There are roughly 300 different species of insect that have been known to feast on mulberries.

A small tip I would say when harvesting mulberries is to drop them in a bucket with water, this way the bugs will swim to the top and try to avoid drowning.

What bugs infest Mulberries

Spider Mites:

Spider mites can cause significant damage to mulberry trees.

These microscopic pests extract the sap from the leaves, causing them to become discolored, speckled, and ultimately wither.

To identify spider mites, look for their telltale signs such as webbing on the leaves and a pale appearance.

How to deal with spider mites:

  • Regularly inspect your mulberry trees for any signs of infestation.
  • Spray a strong jet of water on the leaves to blast away the mites.
  • Consider introducing natural predators like ladybugs or lacewings to control their population.
  • Horticultural oils or insecticidal soaps can be used, following the instructions carefully.

Fruit Flies:

Fruit flies are a common nuisance they are attracted to overripe or damaged mulberries.

These small, flying insects lay their eggs on the surface, leading to spoilage and the emergence of tiny larvae.

Fruit flies can quickly multiply and infest the entire harvest if left unchecked.

How to deal with fruit flies:

  • Remove any damaged or overripe fruits.
  • Place traps with a mixture of apple cider vinegar and dish soap to catch adult fruit flies.
  • Keep the area around the trees clean and get rid of fallen fruit regularly.
  • Consider using fine netting to protect the ripening berries from incoming flies.


Scale insects are notorious pests that latch onto the branches and leaves of mulberry trees.

These tiny, immobile insects can be challenging to spot as they often camouflage themselves, resembling small bumps or scales.

Their feeding weakens the plant as they slowly suck the sap from the tree and promotes the growth of sooty mold.

How to deal with scale insects:

  • Gently scrape off the scale insects using a soft brush or your fingernail.
  • Apply horticultural oil or insecticidal soap to suffocate and kill the remaining scales.
  • Introduce beneficial insects like parasitic wasps, which prey on scales, to maintain control.
  • Regularly prune and remove heavily infested branches to prevent the spread.


Caterpillars, such as the mulberry sphinx moth caterpillar, can feed on mulberry leaves, causing defoliation and weakening the tree.

These plump larvae have distinct patterns and colors, making them relatively easy to spot.

How to deal with caterpillars:

  • Handpick and remove caterpillars from the tree, especially during their active feeding periods.
  • Encourage natural predators like birds or beneficial insects, such as parasitic wasps and praying mantises, to help control the caterpillar population.
  • Apply organic insecticides, such as Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), specifically formulated to target caterpillars.

How to get rid of bugs from a mulberry harvest

There’s nothing quite like the joy of harvesting ripe, juicy mulberries from your very own trees.

However, encountering bugs in your precious bounty can be a bit disheartening.

But fear not! In this guide, we’ll explore some easy and kind ways to bid farewell to those annoying bugs and enjoy a bug-free mulberry harvest. So, let’s get started!

Embrace the Art of Observation:

The first step in dealing with bugs is to observe your mulberry harvest closely.

Take a gentle approach, examining the berries for any signs of unwanted visitors like insects or webs.

By becoming a keen observer, you’ll be better equipped to take action against these little intruders.

Sort Out the Troublemakers:

Once you’ve identified any bug-infested berries, it’s time to separate them from the healthy ones.

Create a separate area for the damaged or infested berries, ensuring they don’t mingle with the good ones.

This will help prevent the spread of bugs and allows you to focus on preserving the quality of your harvest.

Give Them a Refreshing Bath:

Now it’s time to give your mulberries a gentle cleansing bath.

Fill a container with cool water and immerse the berries.

Gently swish them around, allowing the water to wash away any bugs or debris.

Handle the berries with care to avoid damaging them. This simple bath will leave your mulberries clean and ready for eating.

Air Drying:

It’s important to let your mulberries dry naturally. Place them on a clean towel or drying rack, give them some time to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Patience will be rewarded with bug-free and perfectly ripe mulberries.

Preserve and Protect:

To ensure long-term protection against bugs, freezing your mulberries is a fantastic option.

Once the berries are completely dry, transfer them to freezer-safe containers or bags. Label them with the date and pop them into the freezer.

Freezing will not only preserve the flavor and nutrients of your mulberries but also keeps away any pests.

Nature’s Helpers:

Consider companion planting with insect-repelling herbs like mint or basil near your mulberry trees.

Bugs find these fragrant herbs unappealing, keeping them at a safe distance from your harvest.

Enjoy the added bonus of a beautiful and aromatic garden while protecting your mulberries.

Pruning for Healthy Trees:

Regular pruning is essential for maintaining healthy mulberry trees and minimizing the risk of bug infestations.

Trim away any dead or damaged branches, as they can attract bugs.

By keeping your trees in good shape, you create an environment that’s less attractive to bugs and more conducive to a bountiful harvest.

With these techniques, you’re well-equipped to say goodbye to bugs and enjoy a pest free harvest. Remember to observe, sort, wash, and air dry your berries with care. Freezing will provide long-term protection.


Signs your mulberry bush has a bug infestation

The chances are, you will only really notice your Mulberry tree has a bug infestation when it’s too late.

Therefore you should really be checking for it on a weekly basis because the sooner you spot it, the sooner you can sort it.

When inspecting the Mulberry bush, pay attention to the under side of leaves and the main stems, this is where most of the tiny bugs will live.

Other things to look out for:

  1. Distorted and discolored leaves
  2. Presence of webbing or silk
  3. Sticky residue on leaves on the ground
  4. Damaged or decaying fruit
  5. Stunted growth

Bug control when growing Mulberries

With a few preventative measures, you can create a bug-resistant environment for your mulberry shrub. Lets explore some effective strategies to keep bugs away and keep the shrub healthy.

  1. Promote Plant Health: A healthy plant is less susceptible to bug infestations. Ensure your plants receive adequate sunlight, water, and proper nutrition. Healthy plants have a stronger defense mechanism against pests and are more resilient to attacks.
  2. Practice Good Garden Hygiene: Maintaining good garden hygiene is crucial in preventing bugs from infesting your plants. Remove fallen leaves, dead plant material, and any decaying debris regularly, as they can provide shelter and food sources for pests.
  3. Introduce Beneficial Insects: Invite nature’s allies into your garden by attracting beneficial insects. Ladybugs, lacewings, and praying mantises are examples of predatory insects that feed on common garden pests. Plant flowers that provide nectar and pollen to attract these beneficial bugs.
  4. Use Natural Pest Deterrents: Several natural remedies can help repel bugs and protect your plants without resorting to harsh chemicals. For instance:
    • Neem oil: Derived from the neem tree, neem oil acts as a natural insecticide and repels many common garden pests.
    • Garlic and chili pepper spray: Mixing crushed garlic and chili peppers with water and spraying the solution on plants can deter bugs.
    • Companion planting: Planting certain herbs and flowers alongside susceptible plants can confuse and repel pests. Marigolds, basil, and mint are known to repel a variety of bugs.
  5. Physical Barriers and Traps: Use physical barriers and traps to keep bugs away from your plants:
    • Floating row covers: These lightweight fabric covers create a physical barrier, preventing pests from reaching your plants while still allowing air, light, and water to pass through.
    • Beer traps: I’m not the only person that likes beer! Sink shallow containers filled with beer into the ground to attract and drown slugs and snails, which can be destructive to plants.

Silkworm on Mulberries

silkworm on mulberries

A lot of people don’t know this but the Mulberry leaves serve as a primary food source for the silk worm, making mulberry bushes essential for the cultivation of silk!

Silkworms are actually quite picky when it comes to eating, favoring the tender leaves of Mulberry trees over other foliage.

The Silk Connection

Mulberries and the silk worm have a long history going back for centuries. Mulberry leaves have specifically been cultivated to sustain silk worm populations, in return contributing to the silk production.

Mulberry leaves are cultivated in sericulture farms, where the leaves are carefully harvested and provided to silkworms at various stages of their life cycle.

Silkworms, in turn, consume the leaves, undergo metamorphosis, and spin their remarkable silk cocoons.

Did you know?

To make 1kg of silk can take up to 6000 silkworms!

worms in mulberries

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