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A Different Way to Protect your Apples from Apple Maggot

Karl Foord - Extension Educator, Horticulture

Apple maggots are predicted to emerge in the beginning of July so this is a good time to consider protective strategies.

Karl Foord

Photo 1: Apple fruit prior to thinning

Apple maggot flies recognize and identify apples through a series of visual and chemical clues. The red sphere traps and the yellow square traps both covered with a sticky substance as well as scented lures aid in capture of apple maggot flies and will indicate their presence. However, it is unlikely that such traps will effectively protect your apples.

Karl Foord

Photo 2: Apple fruit after thinning

I have tried plastic bags which can work although they make the tree look phantasmagorical (i.e. nightmarish - please forgive - I always wanted to use that word in a sentence). I have also found that they can collect water and if faced toward the south can heat up and cause damage to the apple skin.

Karl Foord

Photo 3: Apple fruit with maggot barrier I

So this year I am trying Maggot Barriers that I purchased from the Seattle Tree Fruit Society although there are other suppliers of this product that can be found on the web. The Seattle Tree Fruit Society web site does show pictures of their recommendations for attaching the barrier. The maggot barriers are the so called "footies" which serve as single use protective socks that can be used to try on shoes if you have no socks.

Karl Foord

Photo 4: Apple fruit with maggot barrier II

The maggot barriers may confuse the flies who no longer recognize the apples because of the different color and texture of the footie covering the apple. The barriers may physically inhibit the maggots from depositing their eggs under the skin of the apple. However, mosquitoes don't seem to have any problem getting their proboscis through our woven shirts, so I wonder if apple maggot flies would really have a problem getting their ovipositor through the mesh of the footie.

Karl Foord

Photo 5: Apple fruit with maggot barrier III

This is the procedure that I am using. First thin the flower to one fruit per cluster (Photos 1 & 2). Then slip the sock/barrier over the apple and secure with a rubber band. I have three examples: the first with the apple at the end of the sock (photo 3), the second with the apple in the middle of the sock (photo 4), and finally the apple with most of the sock above the apple (photo 5). (note the last photo was taken with a flash which is why the color is so different)

I will let you know how this works for me.

For more information on apple maggot including other methods of control please use the following link. apple maggot

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