[NAFEX] Winter moth in apple tree/Spinosad

Dennis Norton dmnorton at royaloakfarmorchard.com
Sun Apr 16 13:33:04 EDT 2006

Sounds like you could have experienced Oriental Fruit Moth.  If so, this 
pest overwinters as mature larvae inside cocoons, which are located in 
protected areas on the tree or in debris near the base of the tree. In early 
spring, the larvae pupate (transform into the nonfeeding stage where the 
larva changes into an adult) and adults begin to emerge at about the time of 
bloom. The adults lay eggs from which larvae hatch. These first-generation 
caterpillars bore into new growth at the tips of tree branches. This 
activity causes the branch tips to wilt (also known as "flagging") and die 
back. Later in the season, after the branch tips harden, caterpillars enter 
and feed in the fruit instead. While in the fruit and twigs, caterpillars 
are protected from insecticides. Good early season control of adult moths 
using insecticides will often provide control for the entire season.
Control: The presence of moths can be detected with the use of traps 
containing pheromones (synthetic insect attractants).  Traps and lures are 
available from http://www.greatlakesipm.com/ .  Permethrin sprays (such as, 
Spectracide Bug Stop Multi-purpose Insect Control Concentrate or Dragon Lawn 
& Garden Protector Concentrate) should be applied if an average of more than 
10 moths per trap occurs. Do not apply permethrin within 14 days of harvest, 
and do not apply more than 8 applications of permethrin per season for all 
insect pests.  If you have bees, spray at night or early evening after the 
bees have retired for the evening, which is when we do almost all of our 
necessary pest sprays.

If you see anymore, get a picture to me if you can and I'll try to assist 
with identification and control.  The oil should help, but if it is Oriental 
Fruit Moth a permethrin based spray is the best for eradicating.  That also 
goes for anyone else with disease or insect problems.  A picture is worth a 
thousand words.

Dennis Norton
Royal Oak Farm Orchard
----- Original Message ----- 
From: <list at ginda.us>
To: "NAFEX" <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Saturday, April 15, 2006 11:33 AM
Subject: [NAFEX] Winter moth in apple tree/Spinosad

> Last year my apple trees were devastated by winter moth (or some  other 
> caterpillar that acts early and crawls into the center of the  buds to eat 
> out the growing tips, brfore graduating to inchworm-hood.)
> This year I hope to beat them.  I sprayed dormant oil a few weeks  ago, 
> and today I put on an application of spinosad-based  insecticide.  It's 
> supposed to be quite safe.  The warning label says  "keep out of reach of 
> children" and "don't use your kitchen utensils  to measure this", and 
> nothing more than that.  It is supposed to be  fairly benign towards 
> beneficial insects, with the exception of  bees.  But it's only supposed 
> to be harmful to bees on the day of  application.  (Until it dries, I'd 
> guess, although the label lists  some number of hours.)  It breaks down 
> quickly, which is a nuisance  re re-application, but means it doesn't 
> build up in the environment.   And the "season" for winter moths is rather 
> short, so it's not like  I'll be doing this all summer.  But of course, 
> the big question is,  does it work?
> So I sprayed today, since the crab-apples will be in bloom in a  couple of 
> days, and I don't want to kill all my bees.  Depending on  how things 
> look, I will probably spray again after the eating apples  drop their 
> petals.  (The crabs sprout and bloom earlier than the  domestic apples.)
> Last year I tried surround with no visible impact at all.
> Spinosad is probably expensive for a real orchard, but for a couple  of 
> small backyard trees the major investment is the time to spray,  clean up, 
> etc., for almost any insecticide.
> Anyone used the stuff?
> Ginda
> eastern Mass., zone 6
> bud clusters on crabs, green tips on apples, daffs and forsythia in  full 
> glory.  A beautiful spring day.

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