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Managing Apple Pests

As you harvest apples you may notice a few less-than-perfect fruit. Fortunately, most can be salvaged and used for sauces, juices and other purposes.

Apple maggots, codling moths, and other insects can cause unsightly fruit. The adult apple maggot lays its eggs on the developing fruit surface. As the fruit enlarges it usually crushes the larvae leaving only a brown trail behind. The codling moths are usually the worm we find inside the apple.

A thorough clean-up of fallen fruit, leaves and brush will help reduce pest problems. Remove fallen fruit and discard or bury it at least 2 feet below ground.

Some gardeners use red round balls covered with a sticky substance to trap insects. Others find these useful tools to monitor problems, so they only spray when needed.

Or like me, you may look at your lumpy apples as a pesticide-free fruit with character.

A bit more information: Grow worm-free apples without pesticides. Cover the young fruit with bags when 1/2 to 3/4” in diameter to prevent insects from laying their eggs on the developing fruit. Purchase Japanese fruit bags or make your own from brown paper or plastic sandwich bags. Remove bags three weeks before harvest, so they can color up and ripen properly.  For more information, read the article Bagging Apples: Alternative Pest Management for Hobbyists from the University of Kentucky Department of Entemology.

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