apple tree

Unlike other crop pests, insect pests of apples are not always immediately evident until it is too late to curb and major damage has been done to the resulting harvest.

To sustain healthy trees with the best production, not only does one need to recognize what insects to look out for, but also understand their biology and combine this knowledge with appropriate preventive measures and controls needed.

 The most favorable time to control these competitors is during mating season when they will be searching for egg-laying sites early to mid-summer on or near developing apples.

Pests That Damage Apple Fruits And Control

The three common insect pests that damage apple fruits are apple maggot flies, plum curculio, and codling moth. The best time to control these pests is when they are mating and looking for potential and secures egg-laying sites

#1. Curculio: is a 1/4-inch-long beetle that makes distinguishing crescent-shaped scars on developing fruit. The insect eats deep into the apples, causing the fruit to drop in early summer. To kill the adults, phosmet (Imidan) should be sprayed immediately after the blossom petals fall and sprayed again a week or 10 days later.

Non-chemical controls include spreading a cover under the trees in the morning and shaking the tree to remove the pests.  It should be ensured that trees are not sprayed when bees are active, and protective clothing should be put on.

Several applications of Pyganic (pyrethrum) post petal fall will reduce the population of the beetle. Any dropped fruit should be raked and destroyed to gradually reduce the infestation.

#2. Codling moths: lay eggs on fruits just starting to develop shortly after petals fall in spring. The eggs hatch in few days and young larvae bore into fruits where they feed and mature, destroying the fruit in the process.

The spray is toxic to caterpillars only. To battle codling moths, trees should be sprayed with Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki in the evening 15 days after the petal has dropped and five days after the first spray. A non-chemical option for upsetting harmful, dormant insects and eggs is to smother them with non-toxic horticultural oil in the spring before the emergence of a new leaf.

#3. Apple maggot flies: manifest in June or July to lay their eggs on developing apples. When the eggs hatch, the larvae burrow into the fruit. The flies can be trapped with sticky red spheres and bright yellow 8- by 10-inch rectangles hung in the trees at eye level.  Trees can also be sprayed with chemicals such as surround and entrust.

The apple garden should be raked, fallen leaves and fruits are to be taken out of the garden and destroyed to avoid infestation.

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