Apple Growing

Insect Pests

Of the many insects which affect either the tree or the fruit of the apple, the nine selected probably inflict the most damage and are the most difficult to control of all those in the Northeastern States. According to their method of attack

all insects may be divided into two classes: biting and sucking. Biting insects are those which actually eat parts of the tree, as the leaves or fruit. These are combated by the use of stomach poisons as we shall see in the following chapter. Sucking insects are those which do not eat the tree or fruit directly, but by means of a tubelike proboscis suck the juices or sap from the limbs, leaves or fruit. Of the biting insects the five which we shall discuss are: (1) codling moth, (2) apple maggot, (3) bud moth, (4) cigar case bearer, (5) curculio. The four sucking insects discussed are: (6) San Jose scale, (7) oyster shell scale, (8) blister mite, and (9) aphis or plant louse. 1. THE CODLING MOTH, the most insidious of all apple pests, is mainly responsible for wormy apples. The adult is a night flying moth with a wing expanse of from one-half to three-quarters of an inch. The moths appear about the time the apple trees are in bloom. Each female is supposed to lay about fifty eggs which are deposited on both the leaves and fruit, but mostly on the calyx end of the young apples. The eggs hatch in about a week and the young larvae or caterpillars begin at once to gnaw their way into the core of the fruit. Three-fourths of them enter the apple through its blow end. After twenty to thirty days of eating in the apple, during which time they become full grown and about three-quarters of an inch long, they leave the apple, usually through its side. The full grown caterpillar now secretes itself in the crevices in the bark of the tree or in rubbish beneath the tree and spins a tough but slight silken cocoon in which the pupal period is passed. This lasts about a fortnight, when the process is sometimes repeated, so that in the Eastern States there are often two broods each season. The most vulnerable point in the career of this little animal is when it is entering the fruit. If a fine poison spray covers the surface of the fruit, and especially if it covers the calyx end of the apple inside and out, when the young larvae begin to eat they will surely be killed. It is estimated that birds destroy eighty-five per cent. of the cocoons on the bark of trees. 2. APPLE MAGGOT.--It is fortunate that the apple maggot, often called the railroad worm because of its winding tunnels all through the fruit, is not as serious a pest as the codling moth for it is much more difficult to control with a poison. A two-winged fly appears in early summer and deposits her eggs in a puncture of the skin of the apple. In a few days the eggs hatch and the maggots begin to burrow indiscriminately through the fruit. The full grown larvae are a greenish white in color and about a quarter of an inch long. From the fruit this insect goes to the ground where the pupal stage is passed in the soil. The next summer the fly again emerges and lays its eggs. Spraying is not effective against this insect as the poison cannot be placed where it will be eaten by the maggots. The best known remedy is to destroy the fruit which drops to the ground and for this purpose hogs in the orchard are very effective. The distribution of this insect in the orchard is limited and it has shown a marked preference for summer and autumn varieties. 3. THE BUD MOTH closely resembles the codling moth in form and size, but differs from it in color and life history. The larvae, after hibernating through the winter, appear as little brown caterpillars about May first or as soon as the buds begin to open, and a week or two later begin their work of destruction. They inflict great damage on the young leaf and fruit buds by feeding on them. When full grown the larvae, cinnamon brown in color with a shining black head, are about one-half inch long. They then roll themselves up in a tube made from a leaf or parts of leaves securely fastened together with silken threads. In this cocoon pupation, which lasts about ten days, takes place. Early in June the moths appear. There is but one brood in the North. These insects can be successfully combated with a poison spray applied early before the buds open. 4. THE CIGAR CASE BEARER winters in its case attached to a twig. When the buds begin to open in the spring it moves to them, carrying its case with it, and begins to feed on the young and tender buds. By the time the leaves are well open, it has fed a good deal on the tender buds and young leaves and is ready to make a new and larger case. This it does by cutting a leaf to suit and then rolling it up in the form of a cigar, whence its name. In this case the larvae continue feeding about a month, causing much injury to the leaves, although this is not as serious as the mutilation of the young buds in the spring, before the tree is fully leafed out. About the last of June pupation takes place and in about ten days the moth emerges. The eggs are then layed along the midribs of the leaves and hatch in about fifteen days. The newly hatched larvae become leaf miners during August, and migrate to the branches again in the fall where they pass the winter. These leaf and bud eating insects can be destroyed by applying a poison to the buds before they open and again later to the opening leaf and flower buds. 5. CURCULIO BEETLES pass the winter under leaves and grass. In the spring they feed on the blossoms and the tender leaves. As soon as the young fruits are formed the female deposits her eggs in a puncture made just inside a short, crescent-shaped cut in the little apple. The eggs soon hatch and the young grubs burrow into the fruit to the core where they remain two or three weeks, or until full grown. The larvae then bore their way out of the fruit and drop to the soil where they pupate. The earliest of the beetles to emerge again feed on the fruit. The principal damage from this pest comes from the feeding of the beetles and the work of the larvae, although the latter is not as bad in the apple as in the stone fruits. A poison on the young foliage as soon as the beetles begin to feed is the best method of combating curculio. Jarring the tree is not as practicable with the apple as it is with the plum. 6. THE SAN JOSE SCALE, one of our worst apple tree pests, is a sucking insect extracting the juices of the tree from the trunk, limbs or branches, or even from the leaves and fruit when it is very abundant. At first the growth is checked only, but as the insects develop their work finally results in the death of the part, unless they are destroyed. The insect winters in an immature condition on the bark under a grayish, circular, somewhat convex scale about the size of a pinhead. The young, of which a great many broods are produced, are soft bodied but soon form a scale. In the early spring small two-winged insects issue from these scales. After mating the males die, but the females continue to grow and in about a month begin the production of living young--minute, yellow, oval creatures. These young settle on the bark and push their slender beaks into the plant from which they begin to suck out the sap. In about twelve days the insects molt and in eight to ten more they change to pupae, and in from thirty-three to forty days are themselves bearing young. A single female may give birth to four hundred young in one season and there are several generations in a season. This great prolificacy is what makes the scale so serious a pest. In fighting it every scale must be destroyed or thousands more are soon born. In order to be able to use a strong enough mixture of lime and sulphur to destroy them by smothering or choking the spray must be applied on the dormant wood in the spring or fall or both. Thoroughness is most essential. 7. THE OYSTER SHELL SCALE, although it is essentially the same in its habits and in its methods of sucking the sap from the tree is not as bad a pest as the San Jose scale because it is less prolific, there being but one brood a year. Still this scale often destroys a branch and sometimes a whole tree. The "lice" winter as eggs under the scale and hatch in late May or early June. After crawling about the bark for two or three days, the young fix their beaks into it and remain fastened there for life, sucking out the sap. By the end of the season they have matured and secreted a scaly covering under which their eggs for the next season's crop winter. A smothering spray like lime and sulphur applied strong when the trees are dormant will practically control this scale. But the young may be destroyed in summer by a contact spray such as tobacco leaf extract or whale oil soap. 8. THE LEAF BLISTER MITE is a small, four-legged animal, so small as hardly to be visible to the naked eye. It passes the winter in the bud scales and as soon as these begin to open in the spring it passes to the tender leaves which it punctures, producing light green or reddish pimples according to the variety of apple. These later develop into galls or blisters of a blackish or reddish brown color and finally result in the destruction of the leaf. Trees are sometimes practically defoliated by this pest, and this at a time when a good foliage is most needed. Inside of the galls eggs are deposited and when the young hatch they burrow in all directions. In October the mites abandon the leaves to hibernate in the bud scales again. A strong contact spray of lime sulphur when the trees are dormant destroys the young mites while they are yet on the bud scales, which is practically the only time when they are vulnerable. 9. APHIDES, or plant lice, are of seasonal importance. Although nearly always present, it is only occasionally that they become so numerous as seriously to damage mature apple trees. But they are more often serious pests on young trees where they should be carefully watched. Their presence is determined by the curled and distorted condition of the terminal leaves on the under side of which the green or pinkish lice will be found. Eggs deposited in autumn pass the winter in this condition, hatching in the spring about the time of the beginning of the growth of vegetation. From these winter eggs females are hatched which bear living young, which may also bear living young and so on for several generations until autumn, when eggs are again deposited for the winter stage. Fortunately weather conditions together with parasitic and predaceous insects hold them more or less in check. Because of the difficulty of getting at the underside of the curled leaves where these lice mostly work they are extremely hard to control. Lime and sulphur when the trees are dormant destroy as many of the eggs as it comes in contact with. A tobacco extract is quite effective as a contact spray in the growing season. The trees must be closely watched and if the lice appear in any considerable number they must be promptly attended to or serious damage is likely to result. These are by no means all the insect pests which the fruit grower has to combat, but they are usually the most important. Canker worm and tent caterpillars often do great damage in unsprayed orchards, but they are easily controlled by an application of a poison as soon as they appear. The same is true of other caterpillars and leaf eating worms. Apple tree borers are frequently serious, especially in young orchards, where the trees should be regularly "grubbed" and the borers dug out or killed with a piece of wire. They may be prevented to some extent by painting the tree trunks with a heavy lime and sulphur or some gas tar preparation.

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