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How to Get Rid of Apple Tree Worms


You can purchase butterfly weed at your local nursery.


Do not consume apples that contain codling moth larvae or apple maggots.

Apple tree worms, also known as codling moth larvae or apple maggots, can damage the fruit and tunnel deep inside the fruit. You can get rid of apple worms by knowing how to detect them and which steps of action to take. Apple tree worms lay eggs in the skin of the apple and feed on the fruit. You can find black or whitish-looking worms inside. Codling moths may also look like worms in the larva stage and tunnel through the apple as they are eating the fruit.

Hang sticky traps. Sticky traps designed to catch apple maggots are spherical in shape and hang in the branches of your apple tree. Hang two to four traps per tree, depending on the size of the tree, at the first sight of black or white maggots in the fruit itself. The sticky traps will catch the adult maggots, which fly, preventing them from laying eggs in the apple tree. You can purchase sticky traps online (see Resources) or at your local gardening specialty store.

Remove all fallen fruit from the tree immediately and discard them. Fallen fruit will hold worms, which will become flying insects that can lay more eggs in the trees. Until you break the cycle, your trees will continue to be infested.

Spray dormant oil on your trees during just before spring to prevent any eggs from hatching. Cover any nearby plants with a tarp before spraying, as the oil can damage sensitive flowers and shrubs. Spray the tree entirely before buds begin swelling for best results. Spray your trees on a day that stays above 50 degrees Fahrenheit for the entire day. You can purchase dormant oil at your local gardening specialty store or online (see Resources).

Hang pheromone sticky traps to catch flying codling moths. Codling moths take the appearance of tunneling larvae after they hatch. When they grow into adulthood, codling moths resemble small moths that are black or brown in color. The moths are attracted to the scent of the pheromone traps, and once they are caught, they cannot lay eggs on the apples. Place four pheromone traps on each adult apple tree.

Plant butterfly weed several feet from your apple trees. Butterfly weed is a plant that hosts parasites that kill codling moths. It is not harmful for these parasites to get into your apples, so bringing them into your natural environment can help kill codling moths naturally, preventing them from laying eggs. Purchase small butterfly weed plants, dig a six-inch hole in the ground and place the plant inside. Pack the surrounding area with dirt, and continue planting the next butterfly weed plant one to two feet away.

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