Name: Rhagoletis pomonella

Alias: Apple maggot. The larvae look like small, moving grains of rice, just like any other fly larvae. They are found under the skin of most tree fruits. The adult form looks very similar in size and shape of a common house fly, although their markings set them apart. Apple maggots tend to have white or tan markings on their body, and their clear wings have the letter M on them. They have dark red eyes.

Crimes: The real damage is done when the larvae tunnel through the fruit of trees. They are particularly fond of apples, pears, plums, apricots and hawthorns. As they tunnel, they leave an obvious trail that gets larger until the larvae emerge. This causes rotting throughout the fruit.

Redeeming Qualities: None known.

Sentence: While the apple maggot isn’t a huge problem in eastern Idaho yet, it doesn’t mean that it couldn’t become one. The apple maggot is a potentially invasive species, and it is in all the regions around us. The first thing you should do if you see one is report it immediately to the number listed below. There is a long list of potential insecticides labeled for apple maggot control, including carbaryl, malathion and many pyrethrins. Applications should be made in the late summer or early spring to control the adults before they lay eggs. Backyard sanitation practices such as cleaning up fallen fruit and avoiding aphid infestations are easy prevention practices. Report any potential invasive species found such as the apple maggot to the Idaho Department of Agriculture’s invasive species hotline 1-877-336-8676.

For more information on dangerous and beneficial bugs, call UI Extension educator Joseph Sagers at 208-745-6685 or email

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