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What Is Wrong With My Apples: Maggot Control

What Is Wrong With My Apples: Maggot Control

The apple maggot is a type of fly that first appeared around the middle of the 1800s. It may be a lot of head-scratching for those who don't know what they are. A maggot is a type of larva, and the apple maggot's larvae live in rotting fruit. In this article, I'll provide you with some basic knowledge on apple maggot, and then go into the specifics of how to use maggot control products in your orchard.

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What Is Fly Maggot?

The apple maggot is a type of fly, and it's also known as the cheese fly. It is a very small fly that adult females can reach less than a quarter of an inch long. It is rather weak even though its tiny size may imply that it is fragile.

What Does Apple Maggot Look Like

The apple maggot is a small gregarine fly that feeds on the juices of rotting apples. . They look like a small, black fly with gray and brown markings and long legs. They look like they are wearing a green cape - they are often seen visiting leaves and flowers of apple trees in the spring.

Apple Maggot's Life Cycle

Several generations of apple maggots develop each year while the apple is still on the tree. Once the fruit falls to the ground, larvae continue to feed until late summer when pupation occurs. Adults emerge from pupae in September, mate, and lay eggs on fallen apples or near rotting apples on the ground for next year's generation of flies. leave a slimy trail on the outside of the fruit.
Around here, the fruit is usually on the ground about this time in late September. That is a VERY short life cycle.

Why Should You Be Worried?

The maggots tunnel inside the apple and feed on the flesh. If there are enough that can cause serious damage to an entire crop and destroy most of them by late harvest time.

This is a serious problem this year, with several of our apple trees being unmarketable because of it, even though they weren't all infected. One tree, in particular, is covered in apples that are completely full of holes inside and rotten on the outside. Those apples can't be saved by any means unless you peel every single one which isn't worth the effort or expense. Thankfully it's not the entire crop but it's quite a bit which affects not only the taste but the value of each apple.

Apple Maggot Damage

The apple maggot is a type of fly that damages apples and pears. It’s also known as the “spotted-winged fruit fly.” The insect has been found in 18 states, including Arkansas, which lies in the center of the fly's range. In Arkansas alone, growers lose millions per year to apple maggot damage. The best way to detect the damage is to wait until harvest. Look for larvae inside the fruit as well as small piles of sawdust outside the fruit and on the ground. The maggot is a brown color with a white stripe around its middle. During the winter, apple maggot larvae are inside apples or pears on the tree and they feed on them until they are ready to pupate in April when they exit the fruit to lay eggs.

Where Did The Apple Maggot Originate

There is some debate on the origin of the apple maggot. The most popular theory is that it originated in North America, but there are others who believe it originated in Europe. In any case, it was first documented in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia in 1875, and by 1881 it had spread to Michigan.
Another common misconception is that the apple maggot was introduced into America from Europe. Since apples are native to North America, it seems logical that the apple maggot would have originated here.

The most commonly accepted theory is that the apple maggot was introduced in loads of apples brought over from Europe and dumped at the port of New York. There is some debate on whether it was brought over by accident or perhaps intentionally because it feeds on European fruit trees.

How To Protect Your Trees From Apple Maggots

Trees can be protected against apple maggots by applying the insecticide Permethrin to the bark of the trunk or limbs. This is referred to as trunk spray. It is important to apply trunk spray during the time of year when apple maggots are migrating up trees or through the soil to reach their host. 

Apple maggots overwinter in the soil as larvae and emerge as adults when the ground warms. The female adult will fly to an apple tree and lay her eggs on the bark around the twigs and branches. The larvae will hatch from these eggs and continue to feed on the bark until they have completely girdled that section of branch or limb, causing it to die.

When there is still snow on your landscape trees, apply your trunk spray in a "starburst" pattern around each major branch.

How To Trap the Apple Maggot

It is important to remember that the apple maggot cannot survive on its own. It can't survive without an apple, especially when it's fruitless. So there are two ways to trap a maggot: either trap the apple or trap the maggot.

Trap the Apple: Once you have determined where an infestation is taking place, put out a few apple traps. These traps are inexpensive and easy to use. You will find them in your local garden center. There are a variety of different kinds of apple traps; however, all basically work the same way, by luring in the adult flies with a pheromone that attracts them to the apples. Once they land on the apples, they cannot escape because of a sticky substance on top of the apples. This is all-natural and does NOT harm or kill anything.

Another way is to use a small amount of flour in a container with some water. Place the apples on a sheet of wax paper and float them in the flour water. This should lure them in, and you can then catch them and dispose of them.

Trap the Maggot: I have used this method many times, as well as others that any gardener would find effective, but I prefer to trap the maggot rather than catch it because killing one, if not more, can prevent the infestation from taking place for a few seasons to come. The most important thing to remember is that the maggot has not completed its life cycle when it is found.

What Is The Best Pesticide For Apple Tree Maggot

They are many kinds of pesticides for apple tree maggots, they can be used to kill the maggot on the apple tree. The most common is Monterey LG 6184, but there are other kinds of pesticides that can also work. 

Monterey LG 6184 Fruit Tree Plus for Control of Insects, Diseases & Mites

  • Monterey Fruit Tree Plus for Control of Insects, Diseases & Mites Conc 1pt Fruit Tree Spray Plus is a mixture of 70% Neem Oil and natural pyrethrins that offer knock down and residual pest management
  • It's Regarded as an insecticide, miticide and fungicide plus in Addition, It modulates the larval, egg and mature stage of the lifecycle
  • It modulates several insects like aphids, scales, mealybugs, whiteflies, caterpillars, fungus gnats, stink bugs, ants, mites and Lots of other people
  • Prevents fungal attack of plant cells 
  • But it's a little bit difficult to use pesticides for apple trees because there are many kinds of apple trees and each kind of apple tree has different kinds of maggots and these maggots have different ways to die, so it's a little bit difficult to use these pesticides for apple trees.

    Apple Maggot Spray

    The best Apple maggot spray? Well, that's a tough one. But i'm going to do my best to help you find out. The closest I could find is the Tanglefoot Tangle-Trap Sticky Coating, a sticky, tacky, and durable coating that provides a protective barrier to stop biting insects. The other main benefits of this one are that it's not bad for humans or mammals, and it's biodegradable.

    The manufacturer claims that the coating is used on millions of trees to prevent insect infestations and that apple trees can tolerate higher-than-normal infestation levels without any problems (effectively meaning that you're not going to eat them). Although this is all I could find on the Internet, there are some reviews claiming that they work.

    Tanglefoot Tangle-Trap Sticky Coating

  • Effective and pesticide free
  • Works naturally
  • Trap and monitor ants, flies, and beetles
  • Use in gardens, greenhouses, yards, orchards and fields
  • Several sizes and formulas for any application
  • Apple Maggot Traps Homemade

    Here is a list of supplies and ingredients to make apple maggot traps:

    - 1-gallon milk jug or similar plastic container with lid
    - 3 cups water    
    - 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, dishwashing liquid, liquid soap, or cleaning solution with degreasing properties (dish soap)  
    - 2 tablespoons sugar (optional)  
    - 1 cup mashed apples (optional)  
    - Screening for base (window screen or hardware cloth)

    * Make sure you can reach the bottom of the jug. Cut off the top part that contains the cap. Pour in water and then add your chosen degreaser. Add sugar and mash half an apple into mixture if desired. Using a stick or skewer, poke three small holes in the plastic lid.Bungee cord or rubber band to secure

    * Make sure the screen fits over the jug with enough room for flies to get in. Secure with a bungee cord or rubber band. Hang in an area that is as exposed as possible. You can also hang it upright on a wall, but this is not optimal because of the exposure factor.

    When using apple maggot traps, place them near your apple trees as early as possible after leaf drop, but make sure it gets an hour or two of sun each day, so that the insects will come and lay their eggs in it to breed. Check apple maggot traps every day and collect any fly eggs that you find inside.

    When To Put Out Apple Maggot Traps

    Ideally, it is recommended to put out maggot traps during the day. This will prevent them from the apple tree's stem and trunk. During the day, more female flies are on the near surface. The female adult flies will lay eggs at or near the surface.

    They feed on decaying apple waste which is why they prefer to lay their eggs at the bottom of a bucket (or similar device) where there is a good source of rotting apples. If you have put apple maggot traps out during the day that will be one of their favorite spots to lay their eggs since they like to lay them close to decaying apples which do not smell pleasant when the rotten apples emit a gas from breaking apart.

    Will Nematodes Kill Apple Maggots

    Nematodes are beneficial organisms that feed on fungus and plant roots and will help apple trees to flourish. They do not kill maggots, but instead make their lives a living hell, feasting on the worms, and can cause them to die.

    However, the fruits themselves may become infested with maggots – a problem which is usually easy to notice if you are looking closely enough at your trees – or other vile creatures such as grubs or caterpillars. Nematodes control these pests.

    What Happens If You Mistakenly Eat An Apple Maggot

    The best thing to do is to discard the entire apple and not consume it. However, if you have already eaten some of the apples, chances are slim that any harm will come to you.

    When an apple is heavily infested with this type of pest it often becomes soft in spots and turns brown or black in others.
    In addition to being unsightly, these pests may carry bacteria that can cause food poisoning in humans and animals.

    What Happens If an apple maggot Touches Your Skin

    If you happen to be unfortunate enough to step on an apple maggot, and it squirms into your skin, the first thing you should do is wash the area with soap and water. Basically, nothing significant is going to happen. You'll feel a burning sensation, and that's about it. In the unlikely event that the maggot is still alive under your skin and moving around, you should see a doctor immediately.

    Apple maggots have been used in medical research for many years. As parasites, they are easy to capture in large quantities and easy to infect with various diseases like malaria and sleeping sickness. When infected with disease-causing organisms, apple maggots can be used as a biological weapon against an enemy population. A large number of people would die if millions of apple maggots carrying malaria were dropped over the areas where people lived.

    Final Words

    To summarize all the above, Apple maggots are parasites that use apple trees to reproduce. It is important to control them since they can damage a tree and cause it to die. If you want your apple tree to survive, you need to control the Apple maggot in your orchard.

    Have fun protecting your apple trees from Apple maggots and enjoy your precious fruit!!!


    Robert Davis

    What started as a personal experience to improve my overall health by growing my own food has turned into a mission to share my experience and my own research. Growing your own food and eating healthier food is something that everyone has to try.

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