July 23, 2021

Apple Maggot Has Arrived

Fig. 1
In 2021 we have trapped the first apple maggot fly on July 19 at about 1500 Degree Days from January 1.  We are at 1561 DD as of today at 12:20 PM, so if you have not done so,  it is time to get out the  apple maggot traps  and get them set.  I set our orchard's traps a few weeks ago and have started trapping flies.  It only takes one non-baited 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), which have been covered in previous posts. The adult apple maggot fly 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, like cherry fruit fly and black cherry fruit fly, by the variation in dark banding on its wings (See Fig. 1).  

Apple Maggot damageA
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 July this year in upper Illinois). It takes about 7 to 10 days for the female to mature enough to mate and lay eggs.  So there is a 7 - 10 day window for spraying prior to egg laying.  A feeding and mating period (pre-oviposition) during this 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

Fig. 4
When monitoring for AM, the apple maggot fly tends to 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 (early july in upper Illinois). First emergence may be detected by checking traps daily until the first fly is spotted on the non-baited 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, the capture of ONE AM on any one non-baited trap at a time would indicate the need for an immediate control application. The capture of 5 flies on a baited trap 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).  Trap kits are available at Gardens Alive by folowing this link, Gardens Alive.

Control for Apple Maggot

Fig 5.
Several insecticides can be used for apple maggot control including those used for codling moth control like   and/or spinosad.  Acetamiprid is a soft, conventional control and may still be available as  Ortho Flower, Fruit & Vegetable Insect Killer (Fig. 5).  Ortho has phased this product out of production, but there may still be some bottles available at local retailers.  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.

Fig. 6
An all natural approach is available in the form of Bonide’s Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew (Fig. 6).  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.

As always, be sure to follow all label directions on the bottle for proper application.

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

Reference in this blog to any specific commercial product, process, or service, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement, recommendation, or certification of any kind by Royal Oak Farm, Inc.   People using such products assume responsibility for their use in accordance with current label directions of the manufacturer.

June 13, 2021

Controlling Japanes Beetle

Figure 1.
Japanese Beetle emergence has not quite begun here in Northern Illinois, but beetles have been spotted in other locations of the Midwest.  Once Japanese Beetle have emerged in one location, it is only a matter of time before it emerges in another.  They tend to gravitate to Honeycrisp trees first (Figure 1).  Due to the large amount of carbohydrates produced by the Honeycrisp trees, which is what makes the variety so sweet, the Japanese Beetle is seemingly attracted to it just like we are!  Honeycrisp seem to be the first leaves that attract them and then they move on to raspberries and several other berry and apple varieties.   

Monitoring for Japanese Beetle

Adult Japanese beetles emerge from the soil and live from 30 to 45 days feeding on plants over a four-to-six-week period.  The adults produce aggregation pheromones that attract individuals (both males and females) to the same feeding location. Adults can fly up to five miles to locate a feeding site; however, they tend to fly only short distances to feed and lay eggs.   The adult beetles normally emerge during the last week of June through July. The first beetles out of the ground seek out that suitable food , like Honeycrisp, and begin to feed. These early arrivals then begin to release that aggregation pheromone (odor) that attracts additional adults. Newly emerged females also release a sex pheromone that attracts males. After feeding and mating for a day or two, the females burrow into the soil to lay eggs at a depth of 2 to 4 inches. Females lay 1 to 5 eggs before returning to plants to feed and mate. This cycle of feeding, mating and egg laying continues until the female has laid 40 to 60 eggs. Most of the eggs are laid by mid-August though adults may be found until the first frost. The eggs hatch in 8 to 14 days and the first instar larvae dig to the soil surface to feed on roots and organic material. The first instars shed their skin (molt) in 17 to 25 days. The second instars take 18 to 45 days to mature and molt again. Most of the grubs are in the third instar by late September and by October they dig deeper into the soil to overwinter. The grubs return to thesurface in the spring as the soil temperature warms, usually in mid-April. The grubs continue their development and form a pupa in an earthen cell 1 to 3 inches in the soil. 

Figure 2.
When you see those first few beetles, that is the time to begin your plan of attack.  Those first few beetles are the food source scouts that will emit the aggregation pheromone letting other beetles know that a feast is on! The Japanese beetle adults feed through the upper leaf surface (epidermis) and leaf center (mesophyll), leaving the lower epidermis intact. Adults usually avoid feeding on tissue between leaf veins, resulting in leaves appearing lace-like or skeletonized (Figure 2). Controlling those first few beetles can give you a head start on stopping the feeding/mating cycle.

 Control for Japanese Beetle

There are some control options for the adult life stage One is physical removal and/or trapping of adults:  Removing beetles by hand, or trapping, may provide adequate protection  for  small plantings  when  beetle  numbers are low.  However, Japanese  beetle  adults  are capable  of  migrating  from  other  areas,  and  the presence  of  beetles  on  or  near  a  plant  will  attract more   beetles.  Consequently,   use   of   Japanese beetle traps often attracts more beetles, and results in subsequent damage to plants.  

Figure 3.
The other alternative is chemical control of adults:  Several insecticides are labeled  for  use  against  adult  Japanese  beetles.  Always  follow  label  directions.    Typically, this may entail 2 treatments during the peak beetle flight. Homeowners should make their first application before damage becomes intolerable and beetles are still abundant. The need for repeated applications can be curtailed by inspecting plants for additional beetle damage prior to applying a second treatment. Neem products containing Azadirachtin can be effective repellents that can reduce defoliation when applied regularly (but no more than weekly) during beetle flight.  Apply before defoliation becomes intolerable. In years when beetle populations are very high, noticeable defoliation may occur because adults will consume a small amount of insecticide tainted leaves before they are killed.  Treat  foliage  and flowers thoroughly.  For optimal control, apply in the late afternoon when beetles are most active.
Several other insecticides can be used for Japanese beetle control including those used for codling moth and apple maggot control like acetamaprid.  There are others like Sevin, but I do not recommend the use of Sevin since it is toxic to bees and to beneficial insects and can act like a fruit thinner on your fruit, causing you to lose your fruit in excessive heat.   Acetamiprid is a soft, conventional control and is available as  Ortho Flower, Fruit & Vegetable Insect Killer (Figure 3).  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.  When sprayed in the evening at sunset, it will not harm bees or other beneficial insects. 
I have been informed by Ortho that their Flower, Fruit and Vegetable Spray has been discontinued, although there may be several retailers that have inventory on hand.  They have replaced this product with two new products,
Ortho® Tree & Shrub Fruit Tree Spray Concentrate which is Pyrethrin and Neem Oil and
Ortho® Insect Killer Tree & Shrub Concentrate which is Spinosad.  The Pyrethrin/Neem Oil product will work well on Japanese Beetle, but the Spinosad product is not as effective.

If you do choose to use chemical controls make sure that the plant you are applying to is listed on the label as well as Japanese Beetles. If controlling Japanese Beetles on food crops such brambles or apples – make sure to follow the harvest-restriction date on the label. Always READ and FOLLOW the label and do not apply at rates higher than listed.
For further reading on Japanese Beetle, refer to this article by Rufus Isaacs and John Wise from Michigan Sate University:  Managing Japanese Beetles in Fruit Crops.  ________________________________________

This publication contains pesticide recommendations that are subject to change at any time. These recommendations are provided only as a guide. It is always the pesticide applicator's responsibility, by law, to read and follow all current label directions for the specific pesticide being used. Due to constantly changing labels and product registration, some of the recommendations given in this writing may no longer be legal by the time you read them. If any information in these  recommendations disagrees with the label, the recommendation must be disregarded. No endorsement is intended for products mentioned, nor is criticism meant for products not mentioned.  The author assumes no liability resulting from the use of these recommendations.