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Apple color advantage re: insect damage?

Posted by Kevin Frank 
Apple color advantage re: insect damage?
November 26, 2014 05:04PM
After about 20 years of harvesting and cultivating apples, I notice that there are no yellow or green sticky spheres usually mentioned--do apple maggots pass up non red apples?; and whether it's my tenderly cared for apples or the ones I find that are available to harvest in abandoned fields, the yellow, green, golden and golden with some blush, seem to be much less bothered by insect damage. I have no scientific data, just seat of the pants. Has anyone else observed color preferences in terms of insect damage?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/28/2014 06:00PM by Kevin Frank.
Re: Apple color advantage re: insect damage?
November 29, 2014 08:04AM
Some apple varieties are less of a draw for maggot flies. Wolf River jumps immediately to mind. I might have included Winthrop Greening as such in past years, a greenish-yellow Maine heirloom ... but this season, with relatively few apples throughout the orchard, any and every orb emitting apple essence seemed to be fair game. I even found a few larvae in the Golden Russets which is very unusual.

As regards the sticky spheres, Ron Prokopy at UMass did explore which was the right color to best draw AMF attention. Red won hands down over green and clear. Yet equally involved as a "dark silhouette" at this stage were odor essence, position in the tree, and proximity to other fruit. The decision to lay an egg in a particular apple came down to fruit size, color, penetrability, sugar content, and water content. Yellow panels proved a draw to immature flies, the thinking being that infrared reflection was similar to that of bird poop, which young AMF feed on.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
Re: Apple color advantage re: insect damage?
November 12, 2018 01:08AM
Reviving this old thread? We had a lot of maggot damage in many different varieties last summer so I used the sticky red sphere traps this summer. So far, I've not found a single Enterprise and very few Karmijn de Sonnaville with any maggots but Honeycrisp is just as infested as last year. Belmac is improved but still more than I'd like to see. I am thinking either the thinner skin or the lighter color of the Honeycrisp makes them a magnet for these nasty bugs. At least our sheep will still eat them, so disappointed to not get any good fruit from this highly productive tree. And yes, all drops are picked up.

VistaRidge orchard, Quilcene, WA zone 8a est. 2012
235 Cider and heritage apple trees, 72 varieties,
Re: Apple color advantage re: insect damage?
November 19, 2018 07:26AM
Minnesota genetics are at the heart of Honeycrisp susceptibility to apple maggot fly. (Which in truth may be the Malinda apple from Vermont used in the Minnesota breeding program.) That's my observation anyway, seeing's as what happens to Chestnut Crab, Frostbite, Sweet Sixteen, and the like. I had multiple AMF traps in Honeycrisp on G.30 and got slammed again this season. Sticky ball traps are only fully effective on the front end, prior to the actual apples coming closer to size and emitting volatile ripening odors. Ron Prokopy reported these flies only see out about three feet so those volatiles pay a big role in trap draw (even more so than color). Another factor in burgeoning AMF numbers is maggots apparently "parachute" to the ground from later varieties as I rarely find the actual maggot in infested Spies and so forth that basically hang on the tree despite obvious ruin. Picking up early drops is no longer a complete defense in these warmer falls where AMF perpetuates.

Look for the post on Burgeoning Apple Maggot Issues to continue this important discussion in its own right.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/19/2018 08:06AM by Michael Phillips.
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