Apple Tree Pests – A Guide To Common Insect Problems

apple tree pests - aphids on a bud with ladybird
Apple tree pests can be dealt with using careful observation and management.

Like all fruit trees, apple trees can be plagued with pests but for the most part, these can be well managed. It’s important when caring for an apple tree to have some ideas of the most common pests.

Common Apple Tree Pests

Apple trees are a great addition to any garden orchard. The fruit is versatile and easy to use in cooking, cider making, or just eating fresh. Like many fruit trees, they are susceptible to insect pests. Our guide to these pesky bugs will help you to keep an eye out for common problems.

Tree Borers

Tiny insects lay eggs that will emerge as moths or beetles and they feed on the tree itself. Over time the wood can become severely weakened, to the point,  it won’t be able to bear the weight of the fruit. Regular pruning can stop this problem from getting out of hand.

Apple Maggot

If you get an infestation of apple maggots they can ruin your entire crop which is absolutely soul-destroying. These maggots start feeding on the flesh and tunnel their way through. It’s important to pick the fruit as soon as it’s ready, as apple maggots are attracted to the mature ones.

Codling Moth

Newly hatched larvae of codling moths feed on the fruit from the outside in. They then pass what they’ve eaten and leave the excrement in the fruit. The only real solution to these moths is to use a chemical solution specific to the moth.

Scale Bugs

Scale bugs feed on the sap from leaves which over time can take vital energy sources away from your tree. There are different types of scale bugs and treating them will largely depend on the type you are dealing with.

Types of Aphid Pests in Apple Trees

Aphids are very prolific and can quickly infest and damage a fruit tree. Here are some of the most common aphids which can be found on apple trees.

Green Apple Aphid

These pear-shaped insects are a common apple and pear tree pest. They are yellow and green in appearance and will be found feeding on the apples themselves. Green Apple Aphids do most damage in the summer months when colonies migrate and damage apple tree shoots.

Symptoms: Heavy honeydew desposits will be found near to the Green Apple Aphid colony. This will become blackened by sooty mould and you’ll be able to see cast off aphid skins. Look out for black ants and a distinctive smell near the colony

Rosy Apple Aphid

One of the more damaging pests for an apple tree to be infested with. They can be found in curled leaves and feed on young foliage and fruit. Even in very small numbers, their presence causes fruit damage and distortion. Affected fruit will remain small and will be pinched at one end.

Symptoms: You will find dense infestations of pink-grey aphids on the underside of the fruit tree leaves.

Woolly Aphid

These are attracted mainly to the roots, trunk, and limbs of the tree where they can be found feeding on the sap. They can cause the tree to stop growing in extreme cases. This aphid can also infest Cotoneaster Horizontalis and Pyracantha.

Symptoms: Trees will develop a white fluff that looks woolly in texture. This is often mistaken for fungal growth, however it is actually a by product of the aphid activity on the tree. Affected shoots will develop soft lumpy growths that you will spot during your winter pruning routine. The growths can split in frosty weather leaving the tree vulnerable to Apple Canker disease.

Careful management and treatment of apple tree pests can save your fruit yield in any given season. Hopefully this guide will have given some valuable insight into the most common insect bad guys to monitor for in your garden orchard.

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