Damage to apple (Malus domestica Borkhausen) by Campylomma verbasci (Meyer), has occurred even when effective insecticides are applied against nymphs present at the petal fall stage. However, insecticide application at pink bud prevents damage more effectively than when the same insecticides are applied at petal fall. We tested the hypothesis that most mullein bug damage occurs between bloom and petal fall by using two approaches. In the first, we caged naturally occurring nymphs on ‘Red Delicious’ limbs and restricted their possible infestation timing by applying insecticides both before cages were placed and also through the cage at various crop stages from bloom through fruit set. In a second approach, we caged Red Delicious and ‘McIntosh’ fruit clusters and introduced either small or large nymphs at various times from bloom through 3 wk after fruit set. Fruit damage on both varieties was greatest when small nymphs were introduced between bloom and petal fall; damage was uncommon from small nymphs introduced after fruit were ≈6 mm, and absent after the 13 mm size. However, damage was greater in cages into which large nymphs were introduced at 10–13 mm, than in untreated control cages. Fruit damage levels were equivalent on McIntosh and Red Delicious. We compared emergence of nymphs from McIntosh shoots with adjacent plantings of other, more susceptible cultivars by forcing hatch in the laboratory from cuttings collected in late winter. Significantly more nymphs hatched from susceptible varieties than from McIntosh, suggesting possible differences in levels of oviposition.
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Vol. 42 • No. 2