Most Likely From Codling Moths...
Now is the Time to Get Ready to Fend Them Off ORGANICALLY!
Advice from the UC Master Gardener Program's Help Desk Client's Question:
UCMGCC Program's Help Desk's Response:
You most likely have codling moths. By the time you see the damage, typically at harvest, it is too late to protect that year's crop ‐ your preventative tactics need to take place now, in the spring.
Codling moth is a common and serious pest in Contra Costa County's home-grown apples, pears, and even in walnuts, but calls received at the UC Master Gardener Program's Help Desk are almost always about apples and pears. And those are not really worms, either, but rather caterpillars, a common term for the larvae of butterflies and moths.
Information on a home-made codling moth bait trap can also be found on UC MGCC Program's web site at http://ccmg.ucanr.edu/files/48135.pdf.
Sanitation should be an integral part of any codling moth control program. Beginning about six to eight weeks after bloom, start checking fruit for sawdust‐like filled holes (larvae entry holes in the fruit). Check every week or two and remove the infested fruit from the tree and the ground. Dispose of it in your yard waste, not your compost pile.
Sanitation and trapping may be all that is needed when you have an isolated tree and low codling moth populations. But, if populations have been allowed to build up over a number of years (or your neighbors haven't managed their trees) you may need a more aggressive approach to achieve satisfactory control (and maybe your neighbor's cooperation). For even more information on aggressive management of codling moths, including even more organic and/or non-chemical actions, go to the UC IPM Online‐-Statewide Integrated Pest Management website: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7412.html
Good luck on "worm" free apples and pears this year.
Contra Costa Master Gardeners Help Desk
This Help Desk response was originally written by Emma Connery for publication in the Contra Costa Times in February 2010. It was originally posted on the blog in March 2015. Because of the numerous questions about Codling Moth at the Help Desk, it has been reposted again this year as a reminder It has been updated for the blog and any errors are the responsibility of the current HOrT COCO blog editor.
Note: The UC Master Gardeners of Contra Costa's Help Desk is available year-round to answer your gardening questions. Except for a few holidays, we're open every week, Monday through Thursday for walk-ins from 9:00 am to Noon at 75 Santa Barbara Road, 2d Floor, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523. We can also be reached via telephone: (925) 646-6586, email: email@example.com, or on the web at http://ccmg.ucanr.edu/Ask_Us/ MGCC Blogs can be found at http://ccmg.ucanr.edu/HortCoCo/ You can also subscribe to the Blog (http://ucanr.edu/blogs/CCMGBlog/).