Providing practical information to help you protect your farm from biosecurity risks

Apple and pear pests


High priority exotic pests

The following are some of the high priority exotic pests of apples and pears, as identified in the development of the Industry Biosecurity Plan for the Apple and Pear Industry.

Any of these pests would have serious consequences should they enter and become established in Australia. Additional information is included in the fact sheets. Implementing biosecurity measures to control endemic pests will go a long way towards preventing exotic pests from entering and becoming established on your farm.

For a complete list of exotic pest threats for apples and pears, contact Apple and Pear Australia for a copy of the industry biosecurity plan.

Rosy apple aphid

Rosy apple aphid

Dysaphis plantaginea. Photo by Jack Kelly Clark, UC Statewide IPM Program

  • Apple trees are the preferred hosts
  • Aphids range from 0.5 mm to 2.5 mm in length and from dark green to rosy purple and black in colour as they develop
  • Leaf symptoms include curling, discolouration and appearance of sooty mould on the surface
  • Affected fruit clusters are severely distorted and growth is stunted
  • Severe infestations can damage up to 50% of fruit in an orchard

Fact sheet


fire blight-UGA1234046

Erwinia amylovora. Photo by Clemson University – USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series,

  • Infects a range of pome fruit species
  • Damage occurs on leaves, branches, shoots, blossoms and fruit tissue
  • Infection results in tissue death, together with bacterial ooze droplets on infected tissue
  • Infected shoots often bend near the tip to form a ‘shepherd’s crook’ shape
  • Spread with infected plant material and through wind dispersal
  • Establishment of Fire blight would impact market access

Fact sheet

Cedar apple rust

cedar apple rust-UGA1496207

Gymnosporangium juniper-virginianae. Photo by University of Georgia Plant Pathology Archive,

  • Only infects apples and cedar (Juniperus virginiana), and requires both hosts to complete its life cycle
  • Infected fruit and leaves develop yellow-orange lesions on the surface and in some varieties spore-producing tufts also develop
  • Lesions are raised and can crack as the fruit enlarges
  • Stems may develop a slight swelling
  • Galls with finger-like projections are produced on cedar hosts
  • Spread with infected plant material or by wind dispersal

Fact sheet

Asian gypsy moth

gypsy moth-0488025

  • Very wide host range, with over 650 known hosts
  • Egg masses laid on any available solid surface and usually covered in yellow or light tan fuzz
  • Caterpillar is large (50-65 mm long) and hairy with two rows of spots (red and blue) along their back
  • Moths have greyish-brown wings (30-40 mm wingspan) in males or white with grey markings (40-70 mm wingspan) in females
  • Larval stage causes heavy defoliation of trees and shrubs, and may produce large amounts of webbing

Fact sheet

Apple brown rot

apple brown rot

Monilinia fructigena. Photo by University of Georgia Plant Pathology Archive,

  • Infects a range of fruit trees and berries
  • Produces similar symptoms to Brown rot in stone fruit
  • Fruit develop rapidly spreading, firm, brown spots that progress to/into rotting
  • Rotting areas covered or surrounded by creamy-white pustules, often in concentric circles
  • Infected fruit can become mummified on the tree
  • Blighted twigs with cankers can also develop
  • Spread by wind, rain and with infected plant material

Fact sheet

Apple maggot

apple maggot-UGA1243013

Rhagoletis pomonella. Photo by Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,

  • Fruit fly that primarily attacks apples
  • Cream coloured legless larvae (up to 10 mm long) leave brown trail through fruit flesh
  • Small black fly (up to 5 mm long) with yellowish head and legs, a white spot on the back and four irregular or zigzag black bands on the wings
  • Sunken dimple-like spots and discolourations develop on the surface of fruit following egg laying and larval feeding
  • Damaged fruit drop prematurely

Fact sheet

European canker

European canker-5361962

Neonectria galligena. Photo by H.J. Larsen,

  • Economically damaging fungus worldwide that causes up to 60% yield loss
  • Reddish brown lesions develop on small branches, usually around leaf scar, spur or pruning wounds
  • Lesions develop into cankers that cause dieback of affected braches
  • Cankers can girdle trunks of young trees causing tree death
  • Rot may develop in trees or on fruit
  • Long distance dispersal likely through movement of infected (though often symptomless) fruit

Fact sheet

 A range of fact sheets, contingency plans and other biosecurity related documents are available from the Pest Information Document Database.

Remain observant for anything unusual in your orchard and storage facilities. If a pest is found that is not normally present on your property, it may be new not only to your property, but to the region, state or even Australia.