The Worms in your Apples and Pears

Codling Moth Adult
AJC1 from UK / CC BY-SA
Codling Moth Larva
Wikicommons media
Apple Maggot on Apple in Surrey BC - Hallman
Apple Maggot on Apple in Surrey BC - Hallman
Apple Maggot Larva Langley - Hallman
Apple Maggot Larva Langley - Hallman

May is the month to plan for and take action to prevent wormy apples and pears at harvest time. Codling Moths and Apple Maggots are the most common high protein critters in your fruit.

Codling Moths usually start emerging from their overwintering stage in mid-May to early-June in South Coastal British Columbia to mate and start laying eggs on your fruit. They continue emerging until late June (mid-July in cooler areas) depending on the temperature. With the recent heat moths will be emerging in the near future. See the post “How to Predict Codling Moth Emergence” for more information.

Codling Moth Description:

Adult – Brownish-gray moth about 10-12 mm long with a copper spot on the end of each forewing.

Larva – Pinkish-white caterpillar with black or mottled black head; mature larvae 12-20 mm long

Mating and egg-laying occur when twilight temperatures are above 15°C. Once emerged, Codling Moths mate and the females start to lay eggs on the fruit or the leaves near the fruit. Once hatched, larvae wander over the fruit surface (before cutting through the skin and boring into the fruit. The number of eggs laid per female Codling Moth ranges from 30 to 70.

Apple Maggots (flies) start to emerge in South Coastal BC in late June to early July. Once they have mated the female lands on a fruit and inserts eggs through the apple skin with its needle like ovipositor. Egg laying does not produce visible damage to the surface of the fruit.

Apple Maggot Description:

AdultAdults are about 5 mm long, slightly smaller than a house fly, black body with yellowish head and legs, and green eyes. Wings have black bands, which are used to identify this pest from related fruit flies 

Larva – White, legless, maggot-like with no distinct head, about 6.5-8 mm long when mature

There are several flies closely related to Apple Maggots that can be confused with them. Each of these insects has a distinct wing pattern.May is the month to plan for and take action to prevent wormy apples and pears at harvest time. Codling Moths and Apple Maggots are the most common high protein critters in your fruit.

Codling Moths usually start emerging from their overwintering stage in mid-May to early-June in South Coastal British Columbia and start laying eggs on your fruit. They continue emerging until late June (mid-July in cooler areas) depending on the temperature. With the recent heat moths will likely be emerging by the end of May. See the post “How to Predict Codling Moth Emergence” for more information.

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