How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Apple maggot—Rhagoletis pomonella

Adult maggots have clear wings with black bands, a pronounced white spot on the back of the thorax, and a black abdomen with light crossbands. Females have four crossbands on the abdomen; males have three. Apple maggot is currently established only in northern California from Sonoma County north.

Identification of species | Life cycle


In soft-fleshed apple varieties a small, dark, decayed spot occurs at the oviposition site. In hard-fleshed varieties, the oviposition site results in a dimple. Young larvae tunnel throughout the apple flesh, leaving a small, brown, irregular, threadlike trail. The tunnels enlarge as the larvae grow; eventually decay organisms enter the fruit and cause internal rotting and fruit drop.


Sanitation is very important in controlling apple maggot. Clean up fallen fruit and discard. To detect presence of adults, hang yellow sticky traps in trees; traps attract flies in search of food. If you find apple maggot in counties where it has not been reported, contact your local Agricultural Commissioner's Office or Cooperative Extension Office. Sticky red sphere traps hung in trees can help control maggots. Applications of spinosad made mid-July and repeated every 7 to 10 days if necessary can also help control this pest.

Adult flies; male (left) and female (right)
Adult flies; male (left) and female (right)

Decayed areas indicate egg-laying sites
Decayed areas indicate egg-laying sites

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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