River Wissey Lovell Fuller

The Maggot in the Apple

February 2004

So interesting descriptions of apples and their problems

The Maggot in the Apple


ou are most likely to meet Codling Moth, (Cydia pomonella) in its juvenile stage, as a maggot burrowing in your apple. You may also come across it in the odd pear, quince or even walnut! If you grow plums, you will have met its cousin, Pink Plum Moth, (Cydia funebrana), under similar circumstances. All in all, our encounters with this family are not a pleasurable experience.

The caterpillars, or maggots, of this moth species hatch out from June onwards and leave small entry holes near the stalks or eyes of fruits as they tunnel into their cores, damaging them severely. The holes usually have a distinctive red ring around them and are plugged with orangey-brown frass (droppings). Infected fruits appears to ripen early and drop prematurely.

The maggot usually emerges from its host fruit in

July or August, when it seeks a place to hibernate as a cocoon, often under pieces of flaky bark.

This gives us a clue to one method of control - wrap 3-inch wide corrugated cardboard strips tightly round the trunk and main branches in June to provide ready made hibernation sites. Remove and burn these at the end of August.

Birds are important predators of over-wintering moth larvae - tits, in particular, seem to enjoy seeking them out of crevices, so encourage them throughout winter with nut feeders and provide nest boxes.

You can stage the final assault as the small copper-coloured adult moths emerge in the spring. It is now possible to buy a trap that is specific to the Codling Moth. It tricks the male moths to a sticky end as they attempt to woo a pheromone lure placed in the centre of a glue pad. Similar traps are available for the Plum Moth and are available from garden centres.

Remember - Grease bands placed around tree trunks in winter do not control Codling Moth. They are used to stop the Winter Moths, which eat leaves, not fruit, and pupate on the ground.

Coping with maggoty apples - If you have a cooking apple with codling moth damage in it, first use an apple corer to take out the core, and then use it to take out the maggot tunnel in the side of the apple. Stuff both cavities with mincemeat and bake in the usual manner, Mmmm...

Supplied by Ruthe Gray

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