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Honeycrisp Whizzbanger

Posted by Michael Phillips 
Honeycrisp Whizzbanger
October 16, 2017 02:15PM
Occasionally I have seen one to two to even three holes "drilled" into the stem cavity zone of various apple varieties over the past few seasons. These holes are always clustered together. Nothing much seems to happen so I've imagined some insect sucking juices in midsummer and then leaving behind a small dried up hole going no deeper than an eighth of an inch.

This year however Honeycrisp seems especially attractive. Maybe ten percent of the crop has entrance holes you can readily see. And activity is ongoing in the harvest window. And somehow, the flesh of Honeycrisp responds with up to a dime-size volume rotting out. I have cut open dozens of apples and have not seen a larva. This is definitely not apple maggot fly for the damage does not wind throughout flesh and end at the core. One can almost sense a larvae feeding about a half-inch deep by the appearance of the rot zone but it is either microscopic or out of the apple very fast. The other thing about the Honeycrisp Whizzbanger is damage now occurs not just in the vicinity of the stem cavity but anywhere on the apple where a bright red cheek faces the warm sunshine. The only bug activity I'm seeing now in the harvest window is a narrow, medium-size black fly. Not necessarily the culprit by any means.

What I described on other varieties may well not be what's banging the Honeycrisps. Anyone know anything more?

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
Re: Honeycrisp Whizzbanger
October 28, 2017 03:28AM
sorry, Michael, I draw a blank on this one!

Hemlock Grove Farm
Zone 5 in New York
Re: Honeycrisp Whizzbanger
December 23, 2017 11:15PM
Hi Michael,

I have heard other's describing similar phantom piercings and the rot that is left behind makes me think of BMSB.

Any chance they are starting to set up camp at your place?

For our HON members and guests, here is a link to a well done trial of various BMSB traps and pheromones by the USDA*-ARS in Kearneysville, WV


Good luck my friend!

Gopher Hill Apples
Zone 8 in California
Re: Honeycrisp Whizzbanger
March 03, 2018 05:24AM
Michael , I had similar damage on my new Honeycrisp this year, but I also found it on my main producer which is spartans . We do have Brown Marmorated confirmed 30 miles south so everyone here is on the alert . Because of this I was introduced to it's cousin , the Consperse stink bug . They look very much alike . They normally hang out in weedy woody ares .Prefering mullen ,common mallow ,and white clover . But as the season drys out they will move into apples orchards . I became aware of these guys by finding quite a mass of eggs in the roots my raspberries . They also seemed to like the peaches and the roses . I wondering if there might be a connection ?

Hillview Heritage Farm
Zone 5*in British Columbia
Re: Honeycrisp Whizzbanger
May 18, 2018 09:11PM
Hi Michael, I dont know if you've figured this one out yet but I have had similar experiences in my orchard. Ive attributed this to AM oviposits that were unsuccessful. Normally this doesn't occur much with AM but according to some experts when the fly is messed with by certain poisons like Spinosad there may a short window where the fly will attempt to oviposit but not complete the process.

Ive used GF 120, not sprayed but as attract and kill on red spheres, in my orchard for a while now and brought my AM problem completely under manageable levels. At first though, i did notice a lot of "stings" on apples that I thought for sure were AM at harvest time. Upon inspection these tiny holes only went a fraction into the apple with no further damage.

Jones Creek Farms
Skagit Valley, western Washington
zone 8a
Re: Honeycrisp Whizzbanger
May 19, 2018 02:53PM
Impotent AMF is a thought. I did make a spray of Entrust (spinosad) in early August on heavy-set varieties to further knock down peak AMF in conjunction with trapping. Honeycrsip is the prime target as AMF seem to go for this cultivar more than all others. I could see holes being made then having time to decay and thus take a more dried up appearance. I could also see a fly with an altered state of consciousness making two or three such holes side by side. It's the volume of the attacks that confuses me, and the fact that the flesh rotted into the harvest window as a result. It's definitely not stink bug as I would see those.

Sourcing GF-120 at a reasonable price has proven difficult. I know Harmony Farm Supply in California has it at a cost of about $200 a gallon. I've long intended to make a homegrown rendition using Entrust on hand, guestimating a half ounce of commercial spinosad concentration would play out about right in this recipe:

Fruit Fly Bait Recipe:
0.02% spinosad (active ingredient)
1 ounce live baker's yeast
0.5 pound sugar
0.5 pound dried brewer's yeast
1 gallon water
Spot spray on undersides (to lessen rain loss) of leaves near developing fruitlets

Thanks, Leslie. Now to remember to do this come mid-July and catch those darn whizzbangers!

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
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