Nova Scotia Apples - Insects of the Apple Orchard
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Insects of the Apple Orchard

Pests and Beneficials - Many bugs make their homes in apple orchards. Apple growers generally classify bugs into two basic groups: Bugs in the first group are harmful in apple orchards; they are called 'pests.' Bugs in the second group are helpful in apple orchards; they are called 'beneficials.'


Apple Maggot - The apple maggot fly lays its eggs under the skin of an apple. When the eggs hatch, the young maggots start eating the apple, leaving brown squiggly tracks all through it. A long time ago the maggots were called railroad worms because the brown lines were thought to resemble railroad tracks.

Speckled Green Fruitworm - The speckled green fruitworm eats the new leaves, flower buds, and fruit of its host tree. They have a light green body and head. The worm can grow to 3.5 cm in length before it pupates into an adult moth. The adult moth flies at night and rests during the day.

Aphid - Aphids are very tiny pests frequently found in apple orchards. They suck juice out of leaves, green twigs and apples.

Borer - Borers lay eggs in the cracks found in the bark of apple trees. When the eggs hatch, the larvae eat (bore) through the inner bark, into the sapwood.

Tent Caterpillar - Tent caterpillars make silk-like tents in apple trees. These pests eat so many leaves from the tree that the tree often dies.

Codling Moth - Codling moths are common pests in apple orchards. They lay eggs on leaves, twigs and new apples. The larvae that hatch from these eggs tunnel into apples and eat near the seeds.


Spider - Spiders help orchard growers by eating harmful insects and bugs. There are many kinds of spiders, including crab spiders, jumping spiders and orb web spiders.

Sevenspotted Lady Beetle - The sevenspotted lady beetle likes to eat some of the orchard pests, such as aphids, mites and scale insects.  The adults are quite easy to recognize because they are a red or reddish brown colour and have seven black spots on their backs. They have wings hidden under their bright red backs. The larvae look like tiny alligators and are bluish black with yellow spots.

Green Lacewing - The green lacewing also eats some orchard pests, including aphids and mites. Apple growers can buy green lacewing eggs to put in their orchards. These 'beneficials' like to do their hunting at night.

Syrphid Fly - Syrphid flies are orchard helpers in two ways: 1) the larvae eat aphids; 2) the adults are just about as good as bees for pollination. Syrphid flies are also called hover flies because they can hover like helicopters.

Mites - Some types of mites are orchards helpers because they attack pest mites. The typhlodromus pyri, known as 'typhs,' are very tiny, but they can eat a lot of pest mites, like European red mites, apple rust mites and spider mites.

Braconid Wasp - Braconid wasps kill leaf rollers, codling moths, aphids, caterpillars, beetles, flies and other wasps. These wasps are not the "yellow jacket" type you often see. Braconid wasps look more like mosquitos.

Praying Mantis - Praying mantises help growers by eating pests. They sit very still and snatch pests that fly close by. Praying mantises can move very fast.

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