If you live in Washington State and grow your own apple trees, you may have noticed an irritant pest known as apple maggots. Originally feeding on hawthorn in the northeastern areas of the U.S. and Canada, the apple maggot looks similar to a small horsefly and has graciously migrated to the Pacific Northwest into states like Washington and Oregon. Not only is this creature a pest to the average person growing their own fruit trees, but it has also presented itself as a real threat to the apple and pear industries.
To determine whether or not your apples or trees are infested with apple maggots, you’ll want to take a look at the apples themselves. Often times, they’ll nestle themselves directly underneath the apple skin, creating vein-looking patterns throughout the skin. You may even notice pinpricks or dimples on the surface as well. If you notice your apples falling to the ground and rotting quickly, that’s a good indication that you may have a maggot problem.
If you’ve encountered apple maggots before, you may be wondering what steps you can take to take action against them and produce healthy and plentiful apples. Let’s go over a few steps to help you do this:
Trick them to trap them
An often-effective method of eliminating the spread of apple maggots is to use some quality deception. You can do this by taking some red balls and coating them with molasses or some other adhesive material and hanging them from the tree. These can deceive the maggots into thinking they’re apples and thus trap them when they try to make their home inside. It’s a simple, cheap, and effective way to reduce their population around your tree.
Most garden centers such as those found at your local Walmart will have different fly traps that can be used in catching apple maggots. Some are in the shape of an actual apple and others are built differently. Be sure to follow the instructions as to how many traps should be placed on the tree and approximately where.
Planetneutral.com recommends using this step as a last resort if you’re still having trouble getting rid of the maggots. Luckily, they’re typically fast-acting natural agents of taking care of your problem; however, they could also pose a risk in and of themselves if not used properly and sparingly.
Whatever method you choose to prevent these creatures from harming your fruit, make sure you still pick up fallen fruit and maintain consistent treatment of your trees to ensure they are happy and healthy for years to come.
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