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Apple Maggots

Posts: 12
Location: ~1 hr South of Seattle
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My family has four Apples trees in the Pacific NW (Puget Sound) from which we like to get apples for straight eating, applesauce, apple butter and limited baking. To control Apple maggots, my folks used to spray, but they banned the spray, and my mother (who did the spraying) has since essentially given up on controlling the bugs. The neighbors also have several trees. I have resorted to attempting to keep all of the apples picked up and feeding everything we don't use for preserves to my small goat herd. The goats can only eat so much, and I'm hard-put to keep up with 8 trees.

I've read the modern methods of apple maggot control...most of which are either incompatible with rain, or involve a very time intensive (putting nylon footies on each individual apple). Or cutting down all of the trees. Which we are not doing, these are great trees.

In the renegade farming movement, does anyone have suggestions on controlling these pests? Companion plants, whatever. We are losing 70-80% of the crop to bug damage. My goats can only eat so many. I'm a college student with limited funds... thanks in advance
Posts: 2719
Location: Maine (zone 5)
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You might try putting chickens in the orchard. That will help break the life cycle.
Posts: 842
Location: western pennsylvania zone 5/a
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"After about 20-30 days in the fruit, the maggots drop to the ground where they bury themselves in the soil. There they change to the pupal stage and spend the rest of the winter. They emerge as adults from July through September. The adults must feed for a period of 7-10 days in order to reach sexual maturity. After this period, they are attracted to fruit, where they mate and the females lay eggs. There is one generation per year. The apple maggot fly is about l/4-3/8 inches long. It has a black abdomen. Females have four white bands on the abdomen. The smaller males have three bands. The wings are clear but are marked with black bands. The apple maggot is closely related to the walnut husk fly, cherry fruit fly, and other picture-wing flies, including the snowberry maggot, an extremely close "look-alike.' Because of their close resemblance to these insects, entomologists must dissect them to confirm their identity."


"Other management strategies Regular inspection and removal of fruit from infested trees can greatly reduce apple maggot populations in backyards and commercial operations. At weekly intervals from early August to fruit harvest, pick up and destroy any fallen fruit, in order to prevent apple maggots from completing their larval development. With low fly populations, multiple, yellow rectangular sticky traps or red sticky spheres may be hung from each backyard tree, or from perimeter fruit trees to intercept and trap adult apple maggot flies. Traps need to be replaced, or the adhesive reapplied periodically (every 3 to 4 weeks), throughout the season from early August to September."

I pick up fallen fruit and put it in plastic barrels or bags. the larvae hatch but are prevented from reaching the ground and die in the bottom. the rotted apples stay there over winter and are added to the compost the following spring.

if placed on some containment that prevented soil contact, the collected apples could be used to provide larva for chickens

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