Invasive Animal

Apple maggot

Rhagoletis pomonella

About This Species

Apple maggot fly is native to Eastern North America and was introduced to BC in 2006. Apple maggot fly is now established in the Lower Mainland, throughout Vancouver Island, and in the Prince George area. The only major apple growing areas in North America where this fly has NOT yet established are the Okanagan, Similkameen, and Creston Valleys.

The Apple maggot fly feeds mainly on apples (Malus spp.). Maggot damage makes fruit unmarketable, and affected orchards experience lower yields. The importance of apple crops to BC makes this a pest of serious concern.

Adult flies emerge from pupae in mid-to-late June and take 7-10 days to reach sexual maturity. They can live for up to 40 days, over which time the female flies will lay up to 200 eggs. Larvae will stay in their host fruit until the fall or early winter, when they exit to pupate on the ground beneath the host tree.

How to Identify

Adult flies are small (5-6 mm) with a distinct black zig-zag pattern on their wings. This pattern can be used to distinguish Apple maggot flies from other species of fruit flies. Males have three white bands on their abdomen, while females have four bands.

Maggots grow and develop inside fruit. They are 6.5-8.0 mm long and 2 mm wide. They are legless and are pointed and slightly darker at one end. Their body has 11 segments and is creamy-tan in colour.


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Take Action

Prevention is the best approach.


If you believe you have Apple maggot on your property, do not compost infested fruits or move infested plants or fruits off the property. If you intend to harvest the fruit, place a mesh bag around developing fruit to protect them before flies emerge in mid-June. If you do not intend to harvest the fruit, remove flowers from host plants to reduce available egg-laying sites.

Visit the BC Ministry of Agriculture website for instructions on how to construct Apple maggot monitoring traps and information on pesticide application. If you are a grower and suspect you have found an Apple maggot fly in the Southern Interior BC, contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency or the BC Ministry of Agriculture at [email protected]

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