Insect larvae on apple leaves

Can someone identify these larvae for me. They are covering several of the leaves on my Anna apple. I had seen some lady bug activity the other day and assumed they might be aphids. Thoughts?

Looks like aphids to me are there any deformed leaves yet?

not yet…so I’ve probably caught them early. any suggestions for treating them?

Aphids. Please understand that they are born pregnant. Insecticidal soap will wash them off the leaves but a significant percentage will survive. A typical pyrethrin extract (totally organic) will kill them. A pyrethroid such as Cyfluthrin works better.

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Sevin dust will get rid of them in my experience. They are more of a minor pest although I realize how bad they look when they are in large numbers like that.

Yes, Sevin will get them but in my opinion it is overkill.

That’s probably true Richard it is overkill. Diatomaceous earth is a less aggressive approach that’s equally as effective.

Perhaps in your environment. Not very effective in my location.

Every grower would like to have a green thumb. Those very same aphids which decided that my Pink Lady leaves would provide their main course this year have been obliging me daily for the past weeks. Each day after squishing them on the new growth except for the leaf with lady bug eggs, I’ve returned to the house with not only a green thumb, but a matching index finger. Lady bug larvae have now joined the adults in recycling those aphids into more lady bugs, just in time to add black aphids to the dessert menu. :beetle:

The one good thing I have to say about their attraction to that particular apple, is that it has seemed to distract completely from hitting the persimmon leaves as soon as they make an appearance.


@MuddyMess_8a, that’s a hilarious piece!

I suppose that technique is viable for folks with a few plants, but it sure wouldn’t work for me out here when I was running a nursery:


Thank you for the compliment, Richard.

No, it certainly would not work well in a nursery. Efficiency of production and maintenance, and appearance of product are much more critical in a nursery setting. High turnover is in a nursery’s best interest. Lack of turnover would make me a resounding success! :wink:

In all seriousness, I’m invaded by sucking insects for the entire growing season. White flies are just getting started. Some years they, and woolly aphids get so bad that it looks like snow flurries outside.

Last year I saw only 3 lady bugs the entire year. I know I have more this year, and prefer not to harm them, and would like them to increase. If it takes a bit of effort and a bit of weakened growth on some leaves in order to allow them to feed and increase, I’ll try it for the sake of hoping to have more lady bugs around for the rest of aphid invasion ahead this summer. In this case, I couldn’t even use insecticidal soap while the lady bird eggs were on the leaves.

Another drawback that I have is that I still do not have a good enough understanding of insecticides to know what can be used to kill sucking and gnawing insects without also harming their predators (other than by denying them food) or my pollinators. I keep honey bee hives. So, I’m particularly, perhaps even overly, cautious about poisoning my own bees and honey. If anyone could guide me toward what is effective that meets the preceding standards, and is available to home growers, I’d appreciate it. I don’t mean that with even a hint of facetiousness. In the meantime, I’ll make light of my green thumbs. :blush:

I might have only a few plants compared to a nursery. Although an actual count would be somewhere over a thousand, most take very little care after they’re established, except for occasional pruning, dividing, or watering during drought years. That still leaves me with a few hundred that will require ongoing attention this growing year. Even though that sounds like a lot to me, it’s no where near what a nursery has to care for, and I don’t have to keep to the same standards.

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@MuddyMess_8a, To what extent are the bees foraging on plants under grave attack by sucking insects? Perhaps we can narrow it down to a good “solution” (pun intended) for you.

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Right now there are only a few remaining blossoms on any of the apples. We can say that is soon to be zero. I don’t know if persimmons will bloom this year, but all those suckers tend to view their leaves as an epicurean delight. So, if there is anything I should keep in mind that doesn’t have a long lasting residual activity, I think that would be appropriate there.

Roses and raspberries will have intervals where they are not blooming, but are likely to have pollinator activity most of the time until December. They both stay under almost constant attack. I almost forgot citrus, most of which are carrying fruit. Others bloom repeatedly year round. Sucking insects and grasshoppers love citrus. Papaya isn’t blooming now, but should get back to business soon.

Of course there are non-fruiting trees, perennials, and embarrassing weeds that feed and harbor the vegetarian vampires. Systemics that don’t harm bulbs like irises, amaryllis, or crinum would be perfect for my needs after those complete blooming. The suckers don’t really seem to harm those, but the whiteflies seem to be so pervasive that I’m never totally sure what they are sucking.

Thanks for any suggestions, Richard.

Jeremy, note that aphids do not have a larval form, they hatch from eggs as nymphs and then progress to adults.


LarryGene, you just permanently changed my mental picture of garden nymphs. :imp:

@MuddyMess_8a, the pyrethrins have a very short activation period. If you apply them towards the evening then the affect on a few straggling bees is negligible – and it is not something that would poison the rest of the hive.


Are all those plants in the picture yours? I noticed tags in some of the containers. Do you plant those or sell them?

Thanks for clarifying @LarryGene
Appreciate all of the suggestions. Lots of good information here, I may try the “Muddymess” method and manually remove them at first. Then maybe use some pyrethrin or cyfluthrin as Richard suggested.


Pyrethroids like cyfluthrin (Baythroid) are generally recognized to be “stronger” insecticides than carbaryl (Sevin). While both are broad spectrum insecticides, pyrethoids generally have more efficacy against fruit pests. Both are highly toxic to insect predators and honey bees, although honey bees have shown some avoidance behavior of some pyrethroids, which is a small benefit.

I’ve nothing against either one of these compounds for various target pests, but both would probably be overkill for aphids.

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That photo is from my former nursery operation.