July 1, 2015

Apple Maggot has Arrived!

Fig. 1
On June 30, I trapped the first apple maggots of the season.  It only takes one trapped fly to  determine that they have arrived to the orchard!  The apple maggot (AM) is native to the Midwestern US and is considered a primary pest, along with plum curculio (PC), and codling moth (CM). The adult resembles a small housefly in size, with a black body, eyes of dark red, with the thorax and abdomen having distinctive white or cream colored bands. The AM is distinguished from other similar, and closely related flies by the dark banding on its wings (See Fig. 1).  


Fig. 2
The AM overwinters in the pupal stage in soil. As soil temperatures rise in early spring, development of pupae commences.  The adult fly first emergence begins shortly thereafter (early summer, mid to late June in upper Illinois). A feeding and mating period (pre-oviposition) of approximately 7-10 days is followed by egg laying directly under the skin of the apple. Females may deposit eggs over an approximate 30 day period laying as many as 300-500 eggs.

Fig. 3
Egg-laying punctures cause dimples and distortion in the outer flesh of fruits. These punctures appear as pinpricks on the fruit surface. Larvae tunnel throughout the fruit leaving irregular trails.(Fig. 2) As eggs hatch, larvae funnel through fruit flesh leaving a winding brown trail.(Fig. 3)  Egg laying usually ceases in early to late August; however, it may continue longer if drought conditions exist throughout August.

Monitoring For Apple Maggot

When monitoring AM traps, AM’s show a preference for golden delicious varieties, but no variety is immune from attack.  Sticky red spheres are effective monitoring devices for adult AM flies (Fig.4). Females are attracted to the sphere for mating and egg laying activities and are trapped by the sticky coating. Hang traps shortly before expected adult emergence (mid to late June in upper Illinois). First emergence may be detected by checking traps daily until the first fly is spotted on the trap.

Hang the sphere in the proximity to fruit at eye level on the perimeter of the south or southeast side of the tree. Attach the ball in a sturdy stem about 1 foot above a fruit cluster of approximately 6-10, cleaning out the foliage and other fruit for at least 18 inches to sides and top of the trap so it is easily visible. The spheres attract the insects that come within a few yards of them; therefore, capture of ONE AM on any one trap at a time would indicate the need for an immediate control application. Once the pesticide is applied, AM captures are disregarded for the period during which the protective spray is effective (varies according to pesticide used.

Control for Apple Maggot

Several insecticides can be used for apple maggot control including those used for codling moth control like acetmaprid and/or spinosad.  Acetamiprid is a soft, conventional control and is available as  Ortho Flower, Fruit & Vegetable Insect Killer.  This is a ready to use product that contains .006% acetamiprid, a synthetic organic compound of the family of chemicals that acts as neonicotinoid insecticides. Acetamiprid is a contact insecticide for sucking-type insects and can be applied as a foliar spray or a soil treatment. Acetamiprid acts on a broad spectrum of insects, including aphids, thrips, plum curculio, apple maggot and Lepidoptera, especially codling moth.  When sprayed in the evening at sunset, it will not harm bees or other beneficial insects.  Be sure to follow all label directions on the bottle for proper application.


An all natural approach is available in the form of Bonide’s Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew.  Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew® contains Spinosad (spin-OH-sid), a product first isolated from a naturally occurring soil dwelling bacterium that was collected on a Caribbean island from an abandoned rum distillery. Deadbug Brew® kills bagworms, borers, beetles, caterpillars, codling moth, gypsy moth, loopers, leaf miners, spider mites, tent caterpillars, thrips and more! Use on fruits, vegetables, berries, citrus, grapes, nuts and ornamentals and approved for organic gardening.


For additional information, see the following fact sheets which are available from local university extension services:

June 12, 2015

It's Codling Moth Season!


Codling moth is a small moth whose caterpillars bore into the fruits of apple and pear trees during mid- to late-summer.  Codling moth is the cause of what is often referred to as "the proverbial worm in the apple". The caterpillars of this insect can damage a high proportion of the fruits on apple trees in gardens in a small amount of time.



Codling Moth Larvae
Newly-hatched larvae (caterpillars) chew through the fruit skin and bore their way to the core. The presence in fruit of one or more holes plugged with frass (excrement) is characteristic of attack by codling moth. The larvae enter the fruit through the sides, stem end, or calyx end, and a syrupy substance may exude from the holes as the fruit matures. Shallow entries called "stings" result when larvae penetrate a short distance and then die from insecticide poisoning or natural causes.


The eggs, larvae and pupae of codling moth each have specific physiological time requirements to complete development before they transform to the next stage. Temperature also affects the flight, mating and egg laying activities of the adults. Although the minimum threshold for emergence of moths is 50 degrees Fahrenheit, male moths do not fly until temperatures exceed 55.4 degrees F and codling moths do not mate until temperatures exceed 60.8 degrees F.
  
To determine when flight begins for , commercial growers make use of pheromone traps.  Once moths have been trapped for  two consecutive days in a row, a biofix is set  that initiates the beginning of growing-degree-day calculations.  We know that at 100 degree days after the biofix date codling moths begin to lay eggs and those eggs begin to hatch at 250 degree days after biofix.  It is this information that aids in the timing of necessary sprays for codling moth so they do not damage fruit.  Growers wishing to time sprays based on egg development and hatch should make an application of an insecticide at 250 DD (base 50 degrees F) after the first sustained capture of males in the sex pheromone traps.  Here is a Detailed Growing Degree Day Model for Codling Moth. 
 
For the home orchardist who does not have the benefit of a weather station or other means to calculate degree days, a simple tree growth stage time table can be followed.  Codling moths usually start flying at bloom time. Eggs laid by these moths begin to hatch about two weeks after petal fall, depending on the weather. You can apply the first codling moth spray at this time to prevent larvae from entering the fruit. Because insecticide residues last 7 to 10 days and moths are continuously present throughout the summer, apply a spray every 7 to 10 days to prevent later broods of codling moth larvae from entering apple and pear fruits. Always follow the label directions of any spray you may use.

Several insecticides can be used for codling moth control including acetmaprid and/or spinosad.  Acetamiprid is a soft, conventional control and is available as  Ortho Flower, Fruit & Vegetable Insect Killer.  This is a ready to use product that contains .006% acetamiprid, a synthetic organic compound of the family of chemicals that acts as neonicotinoid insecticides. Acetamiprid is a contact insecticide for sucking-type insects and can be applied as a foliar spray or a soil treatment. Acetamiprid acts on a broad spectrum of insects, including aphids, thrips, plum curculio, apple maggot and Lepidoptera, especially codling moth.  When sprayed in the evening at sunset, it will not harm bees or other beneficial insects.  Be sure to follow all label directions on the bottle for proper application.


An all natural approach is available in the form of Bonide’s Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew.  Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew® contains Spinosad (spin-OH-sid), a product first isolated from a naturally occurring soil dwelling bacterium that was collected on a Caribbean island from an abandoned rum distillery. Deadbug Brew® kills bagworms, borers, beetles, caterpillars, codling moth, gypsy moth, loopers, leaf miners, spider mites, tent caterpillars, thrips and more! Use on fruits, vegetables, berries, citrus, grapes, nuts and ornamentals and approved for organic gardening.


For additional information, see the following fact sheets which are available from local university extension services:

May 30, 2015

It's Plum Curculio Season!

Pest

 With the blooms off the apple trees now, and the temperatures predicted to be in the 80's this week, it is prime time for our ugly little friend, PC! Adult plum curculio beetles, pictured to the left, emerge in  the spring,  around petal fall, to feed on apple buds, flowers, leaves and young fruit. Female beetles cut holes in the young fruit and deposit one egg in each cavity. These sites are easily identified by their crescent shaped cuts. Unlike codling moth, the larvae of plum curculio rarely cause damage to the fruit.




Damageplum_curculio_damage
The fruit is primarily damaged superficially by the egg-laying and feeding by the adults. These "stings" will cork over and cause an indentation in the fruit as it matures making it look deformed and unsightly. 



Control 

The question is, how do we control them??  Pesticide application at this time is very important for plum curculio control. To prevent fruit drop, and due to toxicity to bees if there are still blooms on the trees, do not use carbaryl (Sevin®). For home growers, an acetamiprid spray such as Ortho® Flower, Fruit & Vegetable Insect Killer Ready-Spray and picking up and disposing of fallen fruit will reduce problems with plum curculio, other insects, and many plant diseases. For conventional growers, Calypso or Assail are two choices you might use, based on your codling moth protocol and your apple maggot protocol.  For a pure organic spray, the two most frequently used insecticides are Surround® and Pyganic®, both certified organic. The organic products may need to be sprayed multiple times for complete control. As always follow all label directions on any spray product.

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April 20, 2015

Planting and Caring for New Apple Trees

imageSeasonal Information. Apple trees are quite tolerant,  withstanding most conditions, including wind and cold. It is recommended that bare root apple trees be  planted in spring. Container trees can be planted in the spring through fall.

Location. Full sunlight and good air circulation are the most important concerns to think about when selecting your planting location. While apple trees can tolerate a wide range of soil types, they will not thrive in areas with poor drainage or high acid levels. Be sure to space your trees according to the size rootstock your tree has.

Pollination. Apple trees benefit greatly from cross-pollination, as they are not self-fertile trees. If you do not have a flowering crab apple tree within 50 feet of your apple tree location, you will need to plant at least one other variety that blooms at the same time as your apple tree nearby.

Planting Instructions. Begin by digging your planting hole the same size as the container of your tree. Set bare root trees on top of a small mound of soil in the middle of the hole. Spread the roots out evenly. If the roots have filled the container or are winding around, use your fingers to gently pull the roots apart a bit, or poke into the root ball with a pointed instrument and wiggle about a bit to loosen  the roots and compacted soil.image

The roots should be directed out and downward when you plant. The very top of the roots (crown of the plant) should be at or just below the soil surface when you are done planting. Keep the graft union 2" above the soil line. Fill the hole in with soil and pack firmly. Be sure to water the tree, as this will permit the roots to make good contact with the soil right away. Add a tree stake to maintain the proper growing angle the tree. For more detailed instructions, visit

Watering. Your apple tree will need to be watered regularly to make certain that the root system becomes well established. The soil surrounding your tree should be moist, but never saturated. Light green leaves can be a sign of over watering, while drooping leaves can be a sign of both over or under watering.

Fertilization. Add one cup of a good 10-10-10 or 13-13-13 fertilizer mixed thoroughly with the soil while planting your tree. Your apple tree will benefit from being fertilized annually with a 10-10-10 formula.

image Weed Control. Any weeds that are present around the area of your tree should be removed immediately. Insulate the tree with 3-4 inches of mulch, and be sure to replenish as needed.

Pests & Disease. The best defense is a healthy tree. Good soil, proper feeding and adequate water are vital to its prosperity. Consult The Orchard Keeper at Royal Oak Farm for proper pest and disease control for your tree

Pruning. Your apple tree will need very little pruning during its first year. In year two you can consult The Orchard Keeper at Royal Oak Farm for proper pruning techniques. Mature apple trees will require annual pruning.

 

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