Apple Tree Pests: Complete Guide with Photos

Hello to all agrohuerters! In today’s article we are going to see what the most important apple tree pests are. We will learn to identify them one by one in a simple way to be able to eliminate them as soon as possible. First of all, if we should highlight some of them, they would be: apple carpocapsa, aphids or mites.

Holes in the apples Who is to blame?

Aphids: green, white and black aphids

As we already know, aphids are one of the most common pests that we can find in any orchard or garden. Year after year they are present there. The important thing is to know how to identify them (because there are many different species) to eliminate them as soon as possible.

In the case of the apple tree, the aphid species that most affect it are: the green apple aphid (Aphis pomi), the ashy aphid (Dysaphis plantaginea) and the woolly aphid (Eriosoma laniferum). Let’s see them one by one!

green apple aphid

The green apple aphid, or Aphis pomi, spends its entire life cycle on the apple tree. It produces the curling of the leaves of the apple tree by chopping them and feeding on the sap. Indirectly it can affect the photosynthesis of plants and reduce their yield.

We can distinguish it from the rest of the apple tree aphids thanks to its green color and its black siphons (the two “sticks” at the end of its body).

Aphis pomi, green apple aphid. (Source: INRA)

White aphid or woolly apple aphid

The woolly aphid or Eriosoma lanigerum is very characteristic on apple trees. We must be careful not to confuse it with the cottony mealybugs since their appearance is similar. They are covered by a kind of white cotton (waxy secretions) but the color of their body is dark.

This species can affect the roots, trunks and branches of the apple tree. Sometimes they form galls due to reactions of the plant against the toxic saliva of aphids when they bite.

Woolly aphid, one of the pests of the apple tree. (Source: INRA)

Black aphid or gray aphid

The ashy aphid, scientifically known as
Dysaphis plantaginea, is the most damaging aphid to apple trees. If the attack of this species is important, it can cause deformation and depreciation of the fruits.

Another of the characteristic symptoms of this species is the appearance of rolled and yellow leaves.

Ashy aphid or black apple aphid (Source: INRA)

To control apple aphids in your orchards, I leave you this link here where we explain it step by step: “ Control aphids in the orchard step by step ”.

Apple Carpocapsa: caterpillars on the apple tree

Without a doubt, one of the most important apple tree pests is the Apple Carpocapsa. Scientifically it is known by the name of Cyda pomonella. It is a lepidoptera of the tortricid family. It attacks various fruit trees apart from the apple tree, such as pear trees or plum trees.

The adult is gray-brown with coppery streaks. The larvae are golden with a black head. There are normally 2 generations a year. Winters as a caterpillar in trunk crevices and on tree branches. The caterpillars, as soon as the fruits come out, dig galleries inside them. If conditions are favourable, they transform into pupae and later into adults.

The optimal conditions for the mating of this insect are sunsets, temperatures greater than 15ºC and relative humidity greater than 60%. During the day, the adults are motionless in the trees.

Fruit damage: Cydia pomonella on apple. (Source: Utah State University)

Control of apple carpocapsa

The main control methods are based on:

  • Placement of bait bands
  • Removal of attacked fruits
  • flight tracking
  • egg surveillance
  • sexual confusion
  • Some predators of these species are birds of the genus Picus or bats

Mediterranean fruit fly

The Mediterranean fruit fly is known in the scientific world as Ceratitis capitata. This fly from Africa is present throughout the Mediterranean area.

It can affect various fruits apart from apples. Among them: peach, apricot, orange, tangerine, figs, grapes, pomegranates, medlars, plums, pears, cherimoyas, papayas, mangoes, etc.

Once the fruits are infected, the larvae develop inside them. The infected fruit falls prematurely and the one that is picked from the tree rots immediately. The larvae pupate and pupate in the soil.

Here I leave you a photo of the fly in an adult state:

Ceratitis capitata known as fruit fly. (Source: INRA)

Here I leave you an article where we focus on this pest: » Fruit fly in the orchard «.

Mites on the apple tree

The mites are also everywhere so the apple trees are not going to be spared. The red mite or Panonychus ulmi is the most present in the apple tree.

They are characterized by discoloring the leaves of the tree and sometimes small spider webs appear on the leaves. Also if we are good observers we can get to see their laying of eggs, as shown in the following image:

Red eggs Panonychus ulmi apple tree. (Source: Bayer)

Bark beetles or bark beetles

If you get close to your apple trees and see little holes in the bark… BAD, BAD, BAD! It is surely a type of beetle from the curculionidae family known as the borer. Its scientific name is Scolytus rugulosus.

Borer making a gallery in the trunk of the apple tree. (Source: INRA)

These types of insects are small and shiny black. They love to make galleries in the wood of our apple trees like the ones we see in this photo:

Galleries caused by the apple borer. (Source: Biomap)

Normally they take advantage of existing injuries in the tree to enter and start making these galleries. In my case, we carried out works in the town and the poor apple tree was hit with some blows… Months later I discovered that the entire trunk was full of small holes caused by this insect.

Other apple tree pests

We have already seen the most important pests that can affect our apple trees. Finally, I leave you a small list of other apple tree pests that we can find on some other occasion:

  • Anthonomus pomorum
  • Zeuzera Pyrina
  • Mealybugs (Lepidosaphes ulmi, Epidiaspis leperii)
  • Quadraspidiotus perniciosus


I hope you liked the article on apple tree pests and… See you in the next one!

Have a nice day

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