You can tell which guy you are dealing with by the nature of the damage.
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Q. Many of my apples were damaged this year by some kind of infestation. How can I identify the pest so that I can take action against it next year?
A. Two main pests attack apples: the apple moth and the apple worm. You can tell which one you are dealing with by the nature of the damage.
Affectionate moths emerge shortly after the apple tree’s flowering time to lay eggs in and near the developing fruit. The eggs hatch into larvae that pierce the heart of small apples to feed on the heart for about a month before emerging to pupate and produce a second generation of adults who lay eggs in July and August.
Apple worm flies emerge in early summer. Females pierce the fruit to lay eggs in July, August, and September. The eggs hatch into larvae that form a maze of thin tunnels as they feed on the meat. There is a generation.
A tunnel in and out of an apple core means mimosa moth. Whole sections of browned meat indicate apple worm.
Control the affectionate moth by checking the entry holes from the time the apples are small. Remove and destroy suspicious and fallen apples. After a tree sheds excess fruit in the “June drop,” thin the apples to leave only one in a cluster.
Catch mimosa moth larvae as they move up the trunk to pupate by wrapping a 20 cm wide corrugated cardboard band (corrugated against the tree) around the trunk in early June. Pick cocoons and larvae every seven to 10 days and replace them with fresh bands in mid-July to catch the second generation.
Control apple larvae by checking for small dimpled fruits where eggs have been inserted. Remove and destroy affected apples, along with all fallen fruit.
Both pests overwinter in the soil and litter under and around the tree. It is helpful to keep the area at the base of the trunk and in the space under a tree scrupulously clean.
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