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Apple Maggot

Rhagoletis pomonella

Author: Esther McGinnis

Symptoms

  • Apple maggot is the most common apple insect pest in North Dakota.
  • Beginning in early July, the adult fly pierces the apple skin to lay an egg which creates a dimple that is visible in the apple’s exterior.
  • After hatching, the larvae or maggots begin feeding and create tiny, brown tunnels that resemble railroad tracks.
  • Larvae are small and white and will exit the apple after it falls to the ground.

Figure 1. Apple Maggot New York State
Figure 1. 
Egg-laying damage creates dimples in the apple skin (New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Cornell University, Bugwood.org)
.

Figure 2. Apple Maggot E.H. Glass
Figure 2
. Larvae tunnel through the fruit creating thin tracks (E.H. Glass, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Bugwood.org).

 

Figure 3. Apple maggot Central Science Laboratory
Figure 3.
Adult fly is smaller than a house fly, has a white spot on its back, and three or four white abdominal stripes. (Central Science Laboratory, Harpenden, British Crown, Bugwood.org)

Management and other important facts

  • Promptly remove fallen apples from the ground to prevent the larvae from pupating and overwintering.
  • Begin monitoring for the presence of adult flies by hanging red apple maggot traps coated in Tanglefoot in late June.
  • If adult apple maggot flies are present, apple insecticides containing carbaryl, malathion, or spinosad may be used; repeat at labeled intervals.
  • Bagging the fruit to prevent infestation is also effective but very time-consuming.

 

 

This website was supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grant 14-SCBGP-ND-0038.
Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.

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