If you grow fruits, you'll almost certainly find insects attacking them at some point. If a pesticide is necessary, use the least toxic alternative. Insecticidal soap is effective on most soft-bodied pests such as aphids and spider mites. A forceful spray of water from a garden hose may knock down the population of pests, too. Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) is a natural bacteria that controls the larvae of moths and butterflies, such as those of leafrollers.
A dormant-oil spray is an effective means of controlling many early-season insects such as borers. During the growing season you can use pheromone traps to detect when insects are present and time pesticide controls accordingly.
Apple maggots are small flies that lay eggs in apples. The eggs hatch into worms that tunnel through the fruit. Control the insect by destroying affected fruit before or when it falls on the ground, use red-sticky traps to catch the flies, or by using an insecticide labeled for use on apple maggots in midsummer.
Codling moths feed on apples, creating small holes surrounded by dead tissue. Control this pest by spraying with an insecticide containing Bt in spring, just as the flowers fade. Or try using pheromone traps.
Plum curculio is a mottled brown beetle that causes misshapen fruits that rot and fall off the tree. Lay a sheet under young trees and shake them in late spring or early summer; the beetles will fall off the plant and you can throw them in the trash. Or spray with an insecticide containing neem oil.
Slugs attack fruits such as strawberries. Control slugs by using a slug bait or spreading horticultural-grade diatomaceous earth over the ground around your plants.
Continued on page 7: Disease Control