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Fighting apple tree pests

While some insects are useful, there are also many that can harm an apple tree. Then act quickly and fight the pests.

The apple tree has many enemies

Apple trees are among the most popular fruit trees in German gardens. But they are also often infested by various pests, which can then spread to other plants in the garden. You should therefore check your apple trees regularly so that you can intervene at an early stage if necessary.

Immediate action is not always necessary, you can also tolerate a small number of pests, because they also serve as food for other useful animals. However, you must not let it go so far that there is a major crop failure.

Detect pests early

During the spring and summer months, you should take a tour of the garden regularly. The leaves of the apple tree provide first indications of pest infestation. As soon as these curl, discolour or have holes, you have to find the cause of this. Later you will see whether the flowers and fruits are optimally developed.

You should also check the branches for pests. You may also want to climb a ladder to be able to check the top of the treetop. Alternatively, binoculars can help.


If you hear from neighbors that they have discovered pests on their fruit trees, this is always an alarm signal and reason to act. If you have identified pest infestation, you must also check the neighboring plants.

Apple tree pests and their control presented

✱ aphids:

In addition to powdery mildew, which is caused by fungi, you will often find aphids on fruit trees. These suck out the leaves of the apple tree and thus damage it.

Control options:

You can control aphids with a lye. To do this, mix water with detergent in a ratio of 10: 1 and spray the infected areas with it. The dishwashing liquid prevents the aphids from further tampering with the leaves and also takes away the air they breathe (reading tip: Combat aphids with garlic - 3 options presented).

✱ worms:

You can usually find worms on the tips of the branches. You can usually see a web there.

Control options:

You should remove the affected branch completely and dispose of it with the residual waste. Then seal the interface best with beeswax.

✱ Apple wrapper:

One of the most common pests that you can count on apple trees is the so-called apple wrapper. It is a butterfly, the larvae of which grasp the apples. Between May and September the butterfly flies around and lays its eggs on the leaves and fruits of the apple tree. The caterpillars that eat through the apples hatch at the latest 14 days later.

You can recognize an infestation by the fact that the fruits are perforated. The larvae are inside the apples.

Control options:

A suitable insecticide is required to control the apple wrapper. Or you can prevent an infestation immediately. To do this, wrap the thick branches and trunk of the tree with corrugated cardboard. The larvae hide underneath, which you can then collect.

✱ Apple blossom cutter:

The apple blossom mug is also an enemy of the apple tree. It is not a butterfly, but a beetle. This does not only affect the flowers, but also the fruits.

The apple blossom engraver hibernates in the woods, which is why it occurs almost exclusively in gardens near the forest. Infestation with the apple blossom mug is then shown by reddish brown discoloration.

Control options:

Songbirds are the natural fine of this beetle, so settling in the garden is the best weapon. You can lure the animals into your garden by e.g. Make nesting boxes available, because natural nesting opportunities have become rare in our gardens.

Fighting without chemical agents is hardly possible with this beetle. It is advisable to always remove infected flowers immediately, so that no further spread is possible.

✱ Apple saw wasp:

The apple saw wasp also eats through the apples to the core casing. They eat the fruit hollow from the inside, so that they fall off at some point. If they remain on the tree, a corked area with yellow-brown discoloration will form under their shell. The apple saw wasps start their flight during the flowering period. The larvae can then start their work later. After the larvae have left the fruit in June, they hibernate in the ground.

Control options:

As soon as you have discovered holes in the apples, you should destroy them. You can also add glue to white boards and attach them to the trees, as this catches the wasps. Chemical control with special agents can take place as soon as the larvae hatch.

✱ Frost tensioner:

The frost tensioner is also a butterfly that lays its eggs on the apple trees in autumn. In the coming spring, its larvae hatch, which tamper with the leaves and flowers. The tree parts gradually dry out and eventually fall off. The frost tensioner affects not only apple trees, but also plums and cherries.

Control options:

Since the moths hatch from October, you should apply glue rings to the trees until mid-October. The pest is usually destroyed by beetles, birds and spiders if there is a natural balance in the garden. If the infestation is very strong, then only the use of chemical agents that are intended to fight biting and sucking insects helps.

✱ Spider moth:

From April, the caterpillars of this moth cause damage to the leaves of the apple trees. As the infestation progresses, bright webs can be seen on the trees. The caterpillars of the web moth live in it. If the infestation progresses unhindered, the whole tree may even be covered with spun and finally eaten completely bald.

Control options:

Birds and parasitic wasps usually kill the insects. If you discover webs on the apple tree, you can remove them together with the caterpillars inside.

✱ Mealy apple aphid:

One of the worst pests of the apple tree is the floury apple aphid, because it can cause enormous damage to shoots, leaves and fruits. If there are enough ladybugs and lacewings in the garden, an infestation should not take over. Shortly before flowering begins, you should check the trees closely and then pull them through until about three weeks after they have ended.

You can recognize the infestation by discoloration of the leaves. In addition, the leaves curl up and then house entire colonies of lice. If the fruits are damaged, they remain small and are sometimes crippled.

Control options:

Shortly before the flowering period ends, you can use Calypso (available here) to combat it. This remedy also works against fruit pickers and the apple saw wasp at the same time.

✱ rust mite:

Mites can also tamper with the apple trees. The rust mite shows up on the fruits and the leaves. The fruits remain colorless, the underside of the leaves turns brown.

Control options:

The damage caused by this mite is limited, so you should avoid using chemical sprays. The natural enemy of the rust mite is the predatory mite. If there is a lot of infestation, you can locate them in the garden.

✱ Spider mite:

You can recognize an infestation with the fruit tree spider mite by the bright spots on the leaves. Later, a yellow-reddish mold develops. The leaves can also fall off.

Control options:

You should only fight the fruit tree spider mite with natural enemies such as ladybugs, spiders and lacewings. If you use chemical agents, they will also be destroyed, so that it would be counterproductive.