How to identify and prevent pests of apples?

How to identify and prevent pest of apples?
How to identify and prevent pest of apples?

This blog offers comprehensive details on the impact of pests on apples and the simple methods farmers can use to detect and stop them.

The apple is regarded as the oldest fruit crop in existence. It is a very lucrative crop farmed throughout the world’s temperate zones. Apple is the principal cash crop for India’s small and marginal farmers. However, apple output and quality are lower in developing countries due to various issues, such as pest and disease infestation. A vast number of insect pests attack Apple crops. However, some of them are particularly harmful and require attention for control. Along with insect pests, mites are also a problem for commercial fruit growers since they significantly reduce the quality of apples. This blog will talk about the major pests destroying apple fruits.

Major pests of apples

PestsSymptoms Management
Woolly aphidTree branches wither and perish.

Presence of galls on the roots.

Patches of white wool on the trunk.
Use resistant rootstocks.

Use predators.

Release parasitoids.
Sanjose scaleThe bark turns reddish-pink.

Fruits have purple discolouration.
Promote the activity of parasitoids.

Use HCN gas
European red miteThe browning of the leaves.

Discolouration of leaves or bronzing.
Use a dormant oil to treat mites.

Reduce dusty conditions.

Maintain irrigation.
Two-spotted spider miteThe browning of the leaves.

A distinctive webbing on the leaf’s underside.
Use dormant oil to treat mites.

Employ well-managed cover crops. 

Woolly aphid

Woolly apple aphids are a serious pest of apples, leaving a white wool-type substance on the tree. They attack apple trees’ roots, trunks, limbs, shoots, and sometimes even their fruit.

Symptoms

The identification measures to detect woolly aphids in apple trees are listed below:

  • Adults and nymphs suck the juice from the trunk’s bark or the fruits.
  • The smaller plants become weaker and eventually die.
  • Tree branches that are infected wither and perish.
  • Presence of galls on the roots.
  • Patches of white wool on the trunk.
  • Underground feeding results in numerous knots on the roots.
  • Infested plants have a short fibrous root system and yellowing leaves that can be easily removed.
Apple woolly aphid
Apple woolly aphid

Management

The best ways to control woolly aphids are listed below:

  • Use the M 778, M 779, MM 14, MM 110, and MM 112 resistant rootstocks.
  • Use parasitoid like Aphelinus mali.
  • Release predators like Chilomenus bijugus and Coccinella septumpunctata.
Woolly aphids predators-Aphelinus mali, Chilomenus bijugus and Coccinella septumpunctata.
Woolly aphids predators-Aphelinus mali, Chilomenus bijugus and Coccinella septumpunctata.

Sanjose scale

The San Jose scale is the most prevalent and harmful of the scales found in apple orchards. Trees can suffer significant damage if scale infestations are not managed.

Symptoms

  • The identification measures to detect the Sanjose scale are listed below:
  • The bark that has been infected turns a reddish-pink colour.
  • Fruits have purple discolouration.
  • Infected shoots cause a young tree or branch to lose strength and die.
  • The surface of fruits will have recognisable “measles” marks.
Sanjose scale
Sanjose scale

Management

The best ways to control the pest population are listed below:

  • Choose nursery stock without any infection of scale.
  • Use HCN gas or methyl bromide to fumigate nursery stock.
  • Winter spray with 8-12 litres of diesel oil emulsion per tree ( diesel oil 4.5 l, soap 1 kg, water 54 -72 l).
  • Promote the activity of parasitoids such as Prospaltella perniciosi and Aspidiotophagus sp.
Sanjose scale parasitoids- Prospaltella perniciosi and Aspidiotophagus sp.
Sanjose scale parasitoids- Prospaltella perniciosi and Aspidiotophagus sp.

European red mites

European red mites are the most prevalent mites in apple orchards. They can be found from early spring until harvest. Its infestation can cause early leaf fall, reducing the vigour of fruit trees.

European red mite
European red mite

Symptoms

  • It is essential to identify the pest at the right time. The identification measure to detect the pest are listed below:
  • European red mites feed by putting their mouthparts inside of individual apple leaf cells and sucking the juices—including the chlorophyll—out of the cells.
  • Severe mite damage results in the leaves browning and losing their colour or bronzing.
European red mite symptoms
European red mite symptoms

Management

The best ways to prevent and control the pest are listed below:

  • Monitor- Gather 25 to 100 fruit spurs from trees all over the block at any time during the winter. European red mites will likely not be a nuisance that season if fewer than 10% of the spurs are affected.
  • Use a dormant oil to treat mites. (Lightweight oils with a petroleum or vegetable base are referred to as horticultural or dormant oils. Dormant oils suffocate pests and kill them.)
  • Predators, including the western predatory mite, six spotted thrips, and spider mite destroyer, can effectively aid in sustaining low levels throughout the season.
  • Reduce dusty conditions in the orchard and maintain regular irrigation of the trees to lessen the likelihood of mite infestations.
European red mite predators-western predatory mite, six spotted thrips, and spider mite destroyer
European red mite predators-western predatory mite, six spotted thrips, and spider mite destroyer

Two-spotted spider mite

The two-spotted spider mite was once uncommon on apples but has recently become more widespread. Timely action must be taken when necessary.

Symptoms

The identification measures to detect the pest population are listed below:

  • Two-spotted spider mites cause the browning of the leaves.
  • Spider mites leave a distinctive webbing on the leaf’s underside.
  • Long-term feeding by wild mite populations strains the tree and lowers shoot growth, and fruit bud set the following year.
  • Fruit size, weight, firmness, colour, and soluble solids are also impacted.
  • In extreme circumstances, mite-induced tree stress might cause the tree to die during a harsh winter.
Two spotted spider mite
Two spotted spider mite

Management

The best ways to control the pest are listed below:

  • Use dormant oil to treat mites.
  • Employ well-managed cover crops between rows to reduce the dust that encourages the accumulation of pest mites.
  • Encourage the activity of predators such as Phtoseiulus persimillis to control populations.
  • Remove weeds to prevent pest activity.

Conclusion

Plant protection is essential for increasing apple yield and output in horticulture. Farmers must take timely preventive measures to stop the spread of pest populations. As a result, artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have recently been developed to control crop pests and diseases accurately. Plant protection measures should be implemented on a community level to ensure pest management success.

How can Fasal assist?

  • Fasal’s AI-powered automated device is advancing the horticulture sector.
  • The Fasal IoT-based system is easy to install on any horticulture farm and is powered by solar and batteries.
  • The device is fitted with various sensors that track the macro- and microclimates at the farm level, as well as rainfall, soil moisture, soil temperature, wind direction, leaf wetness, etc., to identify the conditions that cause pest outbreaks in farms.
  • The Fasal Disease and Pest Prevention System warns apple growers about the potential disease and pest infestations and offers details on the best preventive sprays to minimise damage. Farmers have reduced pesticide use by 15–30%, reducing its adverse environmental effects.
  • Apple farmers are also informed through the Fasal app on their cellphones, which provides them with a detailed picture of their orchards and allows them to take corrective and preventive measures to avoid pest attacks.

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