Tackle apple pests by utilising insects

A modern study has listed more than 220 apple pests, so growers need to ensure they maximise the opportunities for beneficial insects in their orchards, consultant entomologist Roger Umpelby told the Agrovista seminar.

Wasps: underrated predators - image: Thomas Meehan
Wasps: underrated predators - image: Thomas Meehan

"In modern cider orchards the main pests are apple sawfly, rosy apple aphid and other potentially serious ones like apple blossom weevil and apple sucker. If you have a mite problem, you've done something wrong," he said.

"Encourage flowering herbaceous plants in the alleys - wild flowers can be just as hard-wearing as grass. Mow the alleys in rotation and leave some areas wild. Keep pesticide use and the width of the herbicide strip to a minimum. Wasps are one of the most underrated predators we have."

He added: "We get alien pests because we move stuff around the world and no number of inspections will intercept everything." Fortunately: "Spotted-wing drosophila poses zero risk to cider apples."

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