Pear & apple pest control doesn’t always mean spraying.
Most people think fruit tree like apple pest control always requires pesticides. Fortunately, there are other options that don’t require spraying. And, you might even be able to do it without buying anything new. That’s because those unmatched socks the drier gremlins left behind might do the trick.
Knowing how these pests work is key to defeating them.
Apple maggot and codling moth are nasty flying pests that inject their eggs through the skin of young fruit. When those eggs hatch, worms crawl through our fruit. Sometimes they leave before we take a bite. And, sometimes they’re still squirming around in there for us to bite into.
So, stop them from laying those eggs!
The easiest way to avoid wormy, maggot-y apples and pears is to simply slip a nylon baggy barrier over young fruits in spring. The barrier makes it difficult, if not impossible, for the adult pest to inject its progeny into the growing fruit. And, as the fruit grows, the baggy will expand around it. So, when you harvest, you aren’t likely to bite into another nasty, mealy, wormy apple from your trees again!
Where do I get these nylon bags?
Nylon pest barriers for this purpose are readily available to buy from garden and farm suppliers.
Some folks prefer to hang plastic bags over their fruit to the same end. While neither the nylons nor the plastic bags are pretty to look at, to my eyes plastic bags look trashier and may magnify sunlight, burning surrounding leaves and branches.
Want to use a paper bag? Go ahead, but it’ll probably melt after a decent rain.
Can I DIY socks for apple pest control?
Yes! You may be able to upcycle old clothes to do the job. In fact, old, stretched out nylons of any color taking up room in your dresser might do the trick.
Just snip out a large portions of the old pantyhose, and slip it over each piece of growing fruit. But, be sure to cut a portion large enough to expand as the fruit grows. Then, tie the material loosely in place with a twist tie. Later, when harvest time comes, many of your nylon socks will still be in decent shape. Slip them off the fruits as you pick, and save the best to re-use in future years.
What if I have a lot of fruit or a really big tree?
If have an enormous fruit tree, odds are the fruit near the tops of the trees goes to the birds, so don’t worry about putting a sock on those. Instead, slip your barriers over the low-hanging fruit that you’re most likely to harvest. And leave the upper branches for wildlife.
And, yes, sometimes it does get tedious to wrap each individual fruit on a tree. So in cases like this, you might want to wrap the entire canopy of the tree instead. This can be accomplished with the same inexpensive materials and techniques we’ve used to keep birds out of blueberries.
And, if you need help figuring out how to site a new orchard and berry patch, join our Academy and get printable food garden designs from our award winning designers.
With apple pest control & any pest control, timing matters.
It is critical to get your fruit barriers onto your plants early in the growing season. In our area, that means by around the end of May at the latest. That’s because by early June the adults may already be laying eggs into your fruits.
The good news is: you can do double duty by thinning your orchard fruit at the same time.
What can I do about those scabby things on my pears?
Pear scab is an entirely different problem, caused by a fungus rather than a flying pest. Unfortunately, your fruit maggot barriers won’t stop scab.