Q. I have a Fuji semi-dwarf apple tree that is about 23 yrs old in Kingman, AZ. The last few years I’ve had a terrible problem with worms in the apples. I clean up all the leaves after they fall and remove any apples that don’t fall. I I spray dormant oil right before the flowers buds emerge or sooner and spray all around the area including on the grape vines nearby. I have wood chip mulch about an 8 foot diameter around the trunk. I’ve even sprayed Neem oil once when the apples are about the size of marbles but to no avail. Now I’m wondering whether I should remove the wood chip mulch as this seems to be the only thing left to try other than continual spraying or trying stronger chemical type sprays which I’d rather not do. What do you recommend?
A. Most likely this is codling moth and they attack the fruit several times during the year. Codling moth is an international pest of apples and pears. Their emergence coincides with rising temperatures and if you do not get control of the first flight they can multiply rapidly and each new generation can bet worse.
|Codling moth on immature pear fruit in Afghanistan|
|Codling moth damage on apple in North Las Vegas, NV|
I am getting ready to begin writing up how to use pheromone traps for eliminating codling moth, rather than pesticides, in backyard and small scale operations if codling moth is not a huge problem in the area. I may also offer some classes on how to use them. I have been trapping insect pests like these with sticky cards and traps for years. They can be a very powerful tool for insect management.
If codling moth is a huge problem in your area, this might not work for you but it is worth a try. Stay posted and follow me on my blog for more information.