Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Apples With a Little Extra

Okay, just say a big loud GEEZE LOO...EES and get it over with because this is a yes, I am sometimes very dumb confession.

You see I was looking forward to a nice crop of apples off our three small trees and then...
Yup, you know it, worms got ahead of me and took the first bite of almost every apple on the trees. Now I have trees loaded with wormy apples and many more are falling upon the ground before reaching full size.

To bad too because these apple were sweet where ones in the past were sour. The difference, a change in soil amendments but that is another post.

So reveling in the excitement that my apples were indeed becoming more appealing I watered and watched. Then came the,"Seriously Holly where is your brain, the aphids came and devoured your plum trees and you didn't think something would get your apple trees too." moment when I couldn't help but scold myself.

But honestly, I was so disgusted that as far as my health, I was feeling crappy once more this summer, and busy thinking of changes to make with the goats and looking for a bull for our yaks and ...... that I gave the apples hardly a serious thought.

In my defence though, years have gone by with hardly a worm to speak of.  Yet, I should have known it couldn't last and at least put in preventative measures for when I surveyed the full damaged, I couldn't help but throw up my hands and cry, "What ever shall I do?" Okay, I didn't but I thought it and then after I pouted for a few days I hit the Internet looking for the solution because you and I both know that once a bacteria or bug is well fed he's going to be back. Some never leave. I suspected this would be the case with apple worms.

My plan was that if I couldn't completely eradicate the little buggers at least I could make them feel really unwelcome and I suspect a Thieves Will Be Prosecuted sign won't do the trick. Having fought bugs and bacteria before I'm not above hitting a guy or gal, whatever it may be,when there down, after all this is war. So off I went on my reconnaissance mission on the Internet to find out more about my enemy. 

What I learned  was that I was either dealing with the larvae stage of the Coddling Moth or the Apple Maggot. But that whatever I had, the answer wasn't going to be organic as much as I'd like it to be.

If my enemy was the apple maggot then it flies swooning around the apple tree, becomes twitterpated with the opposite sex and you know what happens when boy meets girls, yup, multiplication. Then the girl fly pushes a small, sharp, hollow tube on the underside of her body into a nice juicy apple leaving behind eggs which having been deposited into a fully laid table of food. They begin to eat and eat me out of a apple pie. 

When the worm is full, has burped, and failed to say excuse me or even a thank you mam, the apple falls to the ground.  There the worm crawls out and forms a hard crust around its body protecting it through the winter. Come spring it crawls out having become a fly and heads out to check out the cute guys flying around the same apple tree. 
So beyond keeping the apples cleaned up off the ground which I've yet to do, you have to either set out traps with bait to attracted the guys keeping them from the girls or you have to spray and spray and spray every 10 days after the tree blossoms.

The coddle moth maggots I didn't bother to look up as the whatever their story is, I'm already sunk with the apple maggots anyway so it wouldn't really matter. The ever hopeful, I went to site after site but found the same story -- give up and start to spray or hang a bag around every apple on your tree. 

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