Experts and BHG readers answer.
How can I prevent insects from laying eggs on my apples?
The usual, chemical way to achieve blemish-free fruit is with a regular fruit-tree spray program. Your county extension service or a local garden center can give you a complete program for spraying your trees. However, some good nontoxic methods have recently become popular. One of the more interesting is Surround, a product made from a special clay. The clay forms a physical barrier on the fruit and tree that keeps most insects and diseases from coming in contact with the leaf or fruit surfaces. Or hang sticky red spheres in the trees to trap the insects when they come to lay their eggs. When used properly, the spheres offer as much or more protection as spray. Be sure to use scent lures to make the traps much more effective. Another thought: Are you sure the black spots are insects? Some fruit rots cause similar symptoms. Calcium deficiency of apples can cause sunken, corky spots in the fruit, for example. If you're not certain, you might take a sample apple to your local garden center or a cooperative extension agent for diagnosis.