Of our old apple tree’s apples, we were losing nearly all of them to codling moth larvae. Moth maggots.
My husband wanted to cut down the lichen-covered tree so I emotionally chained myself to it, and promised to somehow fix the apples.
It took me seven years to get round to it, but I began by researching the life cycle of the codling moth. They like to cruise up and down the tree, spending part of their life underground. So I did the obvious thing and enlisted the help of the local dinosaur descendants: our chickens.
In the autumn, I extended our chook run around the base of the old apple tree, planted some bishop's flower nearby, then waited. By the following summer, the small green fruits looked pretty good but nothing was certain. But by that autumn, one year after I began, the experiment was proving a success. Of the hundred or so kilos of apples the tree produces every year, every second one was perfect. Not a moth maggot in sight.
Every other apple that did have larvae in it was only damaged a little. Nothing like previous years when cutting open an apple was a breath-taking experience (not in an exciting way).
I fed all the lovely larvae leftovers straight back to the chickens, breaking the pest cycle further, so I’m hoping for even better results next year.