Combining insecticide bait with visual traps for apple maggot control

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2017: $8,509.00
Projected End Date: 02/28/2018
Grant Recipient: Clark Brothers Orchard
Region: Northeast
State: Massachusetts
Project Leader:
Dana Clark
Clark Brothers Orchard


  • Fruits: apples


  • Pest Management: biorational pesticides, integrated pest management, traps

    Proposal summary:

    Apple maggot fly is a critical pest in Northeast apple orchards annually from mid-summer through
    early fall. Growers face a dilemma: on the one hand, consumer, retailer, and exporter tolerance for
    apple maggot fly injury is virtually zero, not only because of aesthetics, but because larval tunneling
    in fruit can rapidly degrade fruit quality. On the other hand, only a few available pesticides provide
    adequate control of apple maggot, most of which are under scrutiny by regulators or (mainly) retail
    buyers. Organic growers have even fewer effective control options. A long-standing goal of growers
    and researchers in this region has been the use of odor-baited red sphere traps to intercept flies
    immigrating into orchards, which has been shown to be a highly effective tactic, but the logistical
    barriers to using the sticky-coated traps are almost insurmountable. Replacing the sticky with a
    pesticide-and-bait-impregnated cap is one effective solution but those traps are still unavailable
    commercially. Meanwhile, West Coast growers successfully use a toxicant bait formula (which is
    also approved for organic use) for controlling a related species, cherry fruit fly in their orchards;
    East Coast trials have shown some effectiveness of this material on apple maggot. We propose
    replacing the current insecticide-bait cap with a coating of this toxicant bait (GF-120) on red sphere
    traps as a potential method of controlling apple maggot fly with virtually no pesticide in the

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Replacing broad-spectrum insecticides with behaviorally based methods for apple maggot control
    has a long-standing goal of IPM researchers, growers, and consultants in the northeast U.S. for
    several decades. Combining two tactics that have separately been found to be successful – using
    odor-baited sphere traps to intercept immigrating flies, and using the toxicant bait developed on the
    west coast for cherry fruit fly control – could bring us a step closer to realizing this goal. Both
    organic and IPM growers would potentially benefit from controlling a key pest with minimal, highly
    targeted, insecticide use.

    Objective 1: Test the effectiveness of GF-120 applied directly to baited red sphere traps as a
    replacement for sticky coating or pesticide-bait impregnated trap caps.
    Objective 2: Compare the effectiveness of border trapping with GF-120 with the application of the
    material to fruit and foliage, with and without baited sticky traps in border trees.
    Objective 3: Communicate the results of this work to growers and others in the northeast via
    newsletters, orchard tours, and publications.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.