Apple maggot is a native pest of the eastern United States and Canada. In 1979 it was discovered in Oregon and has since moved into California, Washington, and other Western states. Hawthorn and apples are favored host plants, but cherries, pears, and other fruits have been attacked.
Adult flies are somewhat smaller than houseflies and have clear wings with characteristic black bands, a pronounced white spot on the back of the thorax, and a black abdomen with light-colored crossbands. Female flies have four crossbandson the abdomen, and males have three. The apple maggot is closely related to the walnut husk fly and cherry fruit fly. It can be distinguished from these other pests by the banding on its wings.However, it is difficult to distinguish apple maggot from snowberry maggot, a close look-alike that occurs throughout California but that does not attack apples and pears. The larvae of the Apple Maggot Fly (Rhagoletis pomonella) can do serious, wide spread damage to an apple crop, causing fruit to drop prematurely and deforming and rendering mature fruit worthless. This is the most serious pest for the kitchen orchardist. The maggots live inside the apple until it drops to the ground, then they leave and make a cocoon in the top 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 inches) of soil.
Female apple maggot adults deposit eggs singly under the apple skin. Damage is caused when larvae burrow and feed on apple flesh. Browning of the trails occurs as the apple responds to this injury and bacteria associated with maggots cause fruits to rot internally. They can attack immature fruit starting in June or July and successive flights can continue laying eggs into the fall. The eggs hatch within a few days as larvae.
Using their needle sharp ovipositor, the female fly lays one egg in a pin size puncture in the skin of the apple (ovipositing). She capable of depositing an average of 200 eggs and therefore can infect a lot of apples. In young apples the puncture will cause the skin to form a dimple as the apple grows and it (the dimple) is sometimes covered with a white wax. Female flies prefer to lay the eggs on fruit which is beginning to ripen, and therefore they will often be found in early apple varieties first. Apple maggots hatch and burrow inside the apple making brown decaying tunnels through the flesh and seldom entering the core. This burrowing usually disfigures the apple’s outside shape. The brown trails are what has earned the maggot the common name “railroad worm”. Damaged apples may appear to ripen early and drop prematurely. Given a choice, the female fly will seek out the earlier, softer apple varieties first. If she lays eggs in harder, immature apples or in the later winter varieties, some maggots may die due to the hardness of the fruit. Abandoned orchards may have almost all of the apples infested with the maggots.
These flies are slightly smaller than the common house fly. If they are in an orchard of early bearing varieties of apples, the flies may have a tendency to emerge earlier. Their Zebra striped wings make them easy to identify although there are some other similar fruit fly relatives with slightly different stripe patterns (like the cherry fruit fly). The male apple maggot flies are smaller than the females and only have three white stripes on the abdomen instead of four. There is a period of 8 to 10 days after emerging when they are feeding and becoming reproductively mature before they start laying eggs (referred to as the preoviposition period). Eggs are laid in the earlier maturing, softer varieties of apples first. The maggots stay in the apples until they ripen and fall to the ground. Mid July to mid August is when they can be found in the greatest numbers although some can be found until mid September.
These worms remain inside the apple damaging them and the real trouble is when such apples find their way into our home. Let’s take a look at the following article highlighting the trouble caused by these pests;
CORE BLIMEY! PREGNANT MUM FINDS MAGGOT IN APPLE; Vanessa Sick after Biting into Rotten Fruit
Byline: Tina Junday NEWS REPORTER
A PREGNANT woman was horrified after finding a maggot wriggling out of an apple she was eating at her Coventry home.
While I’m a Celebrity stars might be used to chomping on such “delicacies” in the Australian jungle, Vanessa Ryan was sickened to find the creature in the fruit.
The 25-year-old, who is about to give birth, had taken two bites of the apple, which was bought in a supermarket, when she realised there was a maggot inside.
She threw the apple onto the mantelpiece and watched in horror as the maggot slithered onto the wall at her home in Dallington Avenue, Coundon.
She then ran to the bathroom and was sick.
Her husband Ciaran, 25, had bought the pack of apples from the Morrisons store, in Holyhead Road, for their five-year-old daughter Jessica.
Vanessa, who works as a customer services adviser for Coventry Building Society, said: “I’m surprised I didn’t go into labour after that. It was disgusting. I fancied an apple – it looked fine.
“I took the first bite and ate it but when I took the second bite the whole apple fell apart in my hand and this maggot was staring back at me.
“I spat out the piece of apple I’d eaten and threw the apple on to the mantelpiece.
“It made me sick – it was the last thing I wanted being pregnant. I’ve already gone through morning sickness. …
Concrete steps have to be taken to protect the apples from these vile pests. Use of toxic pesticides is definitely not the answer. The solution adopted should be such that the non-toxic and does harm the environment while protecting the apples.
Termirepel™; a solution of C Tech Corporation is both effective and efficient and it does not harm target or non-target species. Termirepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous and environment friendly product which works against pests like termites, ants, beetles and near about 500 species of other insects including apple sawfly. Termirepel™ is available in masterbatch form and can be incorporated in agricultural film and mulches to protect the plantation. It is available in liquid form and can be sprayed around the apple trees.
Termirepel™ works on the mechanism of repellence and is the best green solution available to protect fruits, crops, vegetation from the voracious pests.