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Leafrollers and Ladybugs

Posted by Pat Pryal 
Leafrollers and Ladybugs
June 01, 2016 03:24PM
Now that all 450 apple trees are planted out in their permanent spots and all have leafed out well, I decided to check them all for bugs. Many of the 2 year whips actually had blossoms on them, which I removed. I found basically only 2 bugs on the trees.....leafrollers and ladybugs.

I killed at least 300 leafrollers. It looks like I have 3 different species. Most were lime green, some were lime green but had a black head, and a few were brownish-green . I found ladybugs on about 15% of the trees. I thought ladybugs were mainly aphid eaters, but upon further reading they evidently also eat leafrollers.

I'm not too concerned about the leafrollers, but I don't want them feeding on the terminal shoots and slowing their development. I may try some bt spray later this summer if they are still around. next up will be the aphids and the rose chafers in June, but they never bothered me that much either. I'm wondering if at some point I'll get some of the other pests that a lot of folks have to deal with, like AMF, coddling moth, curculio, sawfly and, God forbid, borers ! I hope not, I've been growing apple trees in my yard for many years and never saw any of these bad guys. Fingers crossed they never show up.

happy growing, Pat
Re: Leafrollers and Ladybugs
June 08, 2016 11:08AM
Bt is the hands down easiest and safest remedy for all things lepidopterish.

Walden Heights Nursery & Orchard
Zone 3 in Vermont
Re: Leafrollers and Ladybugs
June 08, 2016 11:35AM
I hope so, I ordered some Dipel last week, should be here tomorrow. I walked thru my newly created orchard again yesterday and killed at least another 200 rollers. I believe the bigger lime green worms are green fruitworms , they are more prevalent than the smaller leafrollers . didn't see any ladybugs at all though, but did see a spider eating a roller or small fruitworm. Needless to say the time to have been spraying for these pests would have been about 3 weeks ago, but the "manual" control is kind of fun anyway.
Re: Leafrollers and Ladybugs
June 10, 2016 07:09AM
I chose not to include Bt in the pink spray this year as visual signs of budworms appeared rather subdued. Red-banded leafrollers and others certainly scored a hit here and there but otherwise tolerable in the big scheme of things. Young trees (like Pat is dealing with) can be a different story as every leaf counts in that scenario in order to grow wood structure. But in a bearing orchard . . . a little forbearance actually gains an overlooked advantage. The trees react to insect feeding by boosting Systemic Acquired Resistance (SAR) mechanisms. These phytochemicals in turn set the stage for a less palatable leaf/fruitlet for the next round of moths, being the internal feeders like codling moth. The "message" is transmitted throughout the tree and to neighbors which the mated female CM interprets as "not the right place" to lay her eggs. This whole insect balancing thing is interesting as we make our decisions about what to do in the context of one pest at a time. Leaving food resources for the beneficial insects is part of this. A few aphids means ladybug larvae are fed, for instance, to continue their cycle. I like that we eventually can spray less (speaking of organic options for insects, now) when the orchard ecosystem as a whole finds this sweet spot.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
Re: Leafrollers and Ladybugs
May 31, 2017 12:00AM
My experience with Leafrollers: They invaded a lot of our first leaf trees 2 years ago and we actually lost one tree before we (new orchardists) took action. This was the year prior to starting the holistic sprays. We used Spinosad, twice, always in the evening to protect the bees. Have not seen a leaf roller since. If they are there, the few leaves damaged are negligible. Also, we have had pear blister mites in our 6 year old Perry pear trees every year. Last year I began the holistic sprays, but not on a regular schedule. This spring, I could not find a single leaf with the mites! Coincidence??? I'm not spraying less though, I'm spraying smarter, thanks to the wealth of info here and in Michael's books!

VistaRidge orchard, Quilcene, WA zone 8a est. 2012
235 Cider and heritage apple trees, 72 varieties,
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