Apple Maggot Nematodes?

Discussion in 'Fruit and Nut Trees' started by Bob Dunn, Aug 25, 2018.

  1. Bob Dunn

    Bob Dunn Active Member

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    I have an apple and crabapple tree in the same yard. I have been able to eliminate apple maggot from the apples by putting socks on the young fruit, but the crabapples are vulnerable because they are too numerous and small to wrap. The crabs are, therefore, heavily infested with maggots. We picked up all the fallen apples last fall, but it didn't help at all. Has anyone had success with other controls, especially nematodes?
    Thanks,
    Bob
     
  2. Bob Dunn

    Bob Dunn Active Member

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    I used nematodes last spring. The crabapples were still highly infested last year, but this year they were almost completely clear. A few unwrapped apples were infested, but most were clear.
     
  3. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Bob, where did you obtain the nematodes?
    Thanks!
     
  4. Bob Dunn

    Bob Dunn Active Member

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    Natural Insect Control, NIC specializes in Canadian Beneficial Nematodes, grub control, Beneficial Insects, good bugs to control bad bugs. Organic, environment friendly products for home, garden, orchard and farm. (a Canadian company)
    They have different types, but the Garden ones were the ones I used.
    Now, I’m not certain the nematodes did the job. Note my post above: the year I applied them, I still had maggots, but the following year there were none. Did the nematodes not affect the emerging adults that spring, but kill the fall larvae? Then the crabapples were clear the following year? I wished I would have applied nematodes again this spring, but thought they weren’t effective because the crabs were infected the year I applied them? I intend to use them again in spring (and perhaps fall) 2021 and 2022.
    I hope you and others will give them a try. Repeating the experiment is a good way to test a theory.
    Please report back, if you give it a try. Good luck!
    Bob
     
  5. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Thanks, Bob. I looked at NIC's Website yesterday but wasn't sure which type of nematodes would work best. None of them mentioned Apple Maggots. After further investigation, I found a local source for nematodes; but these aren't specified for Apple Maggots either. I want to try a fall application immediately; so I'll get the local ones and see what happens. I read somewhere that fall applications are best because the nematodes feed on the maggots in the fall, multiply, and then feed on any remainder in the spring. I also read that nematodes need a soil temperature of 10 degrees C, or higher; so, there isn't much time remaining this fall.

    The Apple Maggots have been really bad the last few years; I'm willing to try anything that has a chance of working. I plan to put up some traps as well.
     
  6. Bob Dunn

    Bob Dunn Active Member

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    I have never found nematodes specified for apples. I chose the NIC Garden variety (out of desperation) because the description said they would attack a variety of maggots (call it the “shotgun” approach). As I said above, I’m not certain they caused the maggots demise, but it seems a possibility. This is the first year of many that I haven’t had maggots.
    As I understand it, the maggots are most vulnerable when they exit the fallen apples and bury themselves in the soil and before they create a pupae.
    I tried hanging 20 painted red balls coated with tanglefoot one year to catch the adult flies, but don’t know if that helped. We have also been picking up fallen apples as soon as possible and putting them in the garbage to be hauled away (but we are only there one or two weeks in a month, so we aren’t getting them all promptly).
    As I said, I hope a few others will give the nematodes a try and report back.
    Bob
     

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