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Larry Sagers Horticultural Specialist Utah State University Extension Service Thanksgiving Point Office © All Rights Reserved
Fruit pest update
Because the days are shorter and cooler, codling moths are no longer laying their eggs. The traditional recommendation is to protect the fruit through Labor Day. That is good news for fruit growers and means the pest control season is over for apples and pears.
Peach borers also become inactive after Labor Day. If you have not done any control, do so now and hopefully your trees are not already damaged.
Many people are discovering some interesting pests as they are picking their fruit. If you are among them read on.
Many people are concerned about the brown spots on the leaves of their apples and pears. These slightly raised velvety spots are caused by a tiny eriophyd mite called a blister mite.
Eriophyd mites are different from spider mites. They are much smaller and have a cylindrical shape. Because they are so small it is impossible to see them without the aid of a microscope.
Although the leaf spotting looks bad and visually causes a great deal of concern, the actual damage is minimal. Thee mite do not respond to insecticidal treatments nor do they respond to most miticides.
The best control is to use a dormant oil spray in the early spring. This oil spray smothers the creatures by plugging up their breathing holes. There is nothing that can or should be done now.
If the pear leaves and fruits look a little strange, they also have a pest problem. Russet mites also cause the skin of pears and some apple varieties to turn brown and woody. Once this happens, it is to late for effective controls. Once again use the dormant spray in the early spring.
Earwigs are a problem in peaches particularly if they are damaged. Split pits are common because of the hot weather early in the season. There is nothing to do about the split pits but you can try to keep the earwigs out of the peaches.
Earwigs crawl up and down the tree and usually spend the nighttimes in the soil debris. Spray the trunks with Tanglefoot. This sticky material is the material they use to coat flypaper. It will trap the earwigs as they try to crawl back up to the top of the tree. Spraying them is usually not effective and you must observe all preharvest intervals.
Watch apple trees for wooly apple aphid. They look like little bits of cotton stuck to the twigs. They are sucking insects and if they are numerous, they will severely damage the tree. Spray them after you harvest your apples with an oil spray.