Managing apple maggots with insecticides

Insecticide selections should include consideration of apple maggots when present.

High levels of apple maggot adult emergence have been detected at the Michigan State University Trevor Nichols Research Center in Fennville, Michigan, following rainfall events over the last week. Controlling apple maggots has been traditionally achieved with organophosphate (OP) insecticides, like Imidan. Synthetic pyrethroid compounds, like Asana, Warrior, Danitol, Battalion, Mustang Max and Baythroid, are also toxic to adult fruit flies, but are generally viewed to be moderately effective because they have a shorter field residual.

There are several reduced-risk and OP-replacement insecticide products that include apple maggots on their labels. The neonicotinoids Belay, Admire and Assail are labeled for apple maggot control. They have limited lethal action on adult apple maggots, but provide strong curative activity on eggs and larvae. The Spinosyn compounds Delegate and Entrust are active on apple maggots when ingested, but have shown to be only fair control materials in field trials with high pest pressure, thus are labeled for apple maggot suppression only. The Diamide compound Exirel is active on apple maggots, and is labeled for population suppression. Leverage, Voliam Flexi and Endigo are pre-mix compounds that are labeled for apple maggot control.

Summary of insecticides used to control apple maggots

Compound trade name

Chemical class

Life-stage activity

Effectiveness rating on apple maggot**

Residual activity

Mite flaring potential

Effectiveness rating on codling moth**

Imidan

Organophosphate

Adults and curative

Excellent

14+ days

Relatively safe

Excellent

Asana, Warrior, Danitol, Mustang Max, Baythroid, Battalion

Pyrethroid

Adults

Fair-Good

7-10 days

Highly toxic

Fair

Delegate, Entrust*

Spinosyn

Adults

Fair

7-10 days

Moderate toxicity

Fair-Excellent

Assail, Belay, Admire

Neonicotinoid

Adults and curative

Good-Excellent

10-14 days

Relatively safe -Moderate toxicity

Good-Excellent

Exirel

Diamide

Adults

Good

10-14 days

Relatively safe

Excellent

Leverage

Premix (pyrethroid + neonicotinoid)

Adults and curative

Excellent

10-14 days

Highly toxic

Fair-Good

Endigo

Premix (pyrethroid + neonicotinoid)

Adults and curative

Good

10-14 days

Highly toxic

Good

Voliam Flexi

Premix (diamide + neonicotinoid)

Adults and curative

Excellent

10-14 days

Relatively safe- Moderate toxicity

Excellent

* OMRI-approved for organic production.

** Effectiveness rating of insecticides as noted in MSU Extension bulletin E0154, “2016 Fruit Management Guide.”

Dr. Wise’s work is funded in part by MSU’s AgBioResearch.

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