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nafex - Re: [NAFEX] bagging apples & winter moth

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  • From: Diane Whitehead <>
  • To: North American Fruit Explorers <>
  • Subject: Re: [NAFEX] bagging apples & winter moth
  • Date: Sat, 31 May 2008 14:22:16 -0700

On 31-May-08, Ginda Fisher wrote:

I had very poor fruit set as a %
of bloom, probably some combination of the effect of winter moths,
which damage the fruiting parts well before the buds open, and the
sprays for winter moths, which probably took out some of my

I can remember some of my apples didn't start bearing for about 12 years - almost as bad as seedlings.

In the 1970s we had several years of winter moth which had been inadvertently imported from Nova Scotia, on the Atlantic coast of Canada. Every deciduous tree would start to leaf out and then be completely stripped. The air was full of little caterpillars on long long silk threads, swinging out on a search for a tree still with leaves. The frass dropping sounded like rain falling. Of course, we got no fruit at all as the flower buds were eaten out before they opened. My opinion of earwigs and birds changed - I saw earwigs carrying the caterpillars down the apple trunks, but I never noticed birds eating any.

We used tanglefoot to prevent the females from climbing up the trunks to lay eggs, since they can't fly. This may have helped a little, but what really changed our landscape back to green was the importation in 1979, '80 and '81 of some natural predator of the winter moth. By 1985 their population had crashed. It was so great to have fruit again. I suppose we still have some winter moths but they aren't noticeable enough for me to do anything to prevent them.

Diane Whitehead
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
maritime zone 8, cool Mediterranean climate
mild rainy winters, mild dry summers

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