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What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 20, 13 at 12:13

For the last 4 days I've been losing about an apple a day from my William's Pride tree. I'm guessing that they are about 2 weeks from being ripe, so at this rate I expect to lose a good chunk of what's left (though I should still get a few). In addition to finding bits of core on the ground and empty zip lock bags, I've twice found half eaten apples still hanging on the tree. Both have been fairly low (see pic below), though the one I didn't get a pick of was about a foot higher.

have seen a groundhog and a rabbit in the yard, but haven't been able to catch either with apple cores, peanut butter, lettuce, or carrots for the last year. I do get squirrels and racoons, though for the last few days something has gotten good at stealing the bait without triggering the trap. Any suggestions on the likely culprit and how I can best neutralize it?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

This is just a guess, but Bees?


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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

Squirrel.


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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 20, 13 at 16:34

While I wouldn't say it is impossible, I haven't seen any bees on it. Further, that fruit was fine yesterday, so whatever happened was very quick. I also saw what appear to be scratches on both this fruit and the first one (see below pic- I took it off the tree before taking that pic). Scratches makes me think that it must be some type of animal- I'm not sure what.

While walking my trees today, I noticed that the 3 lowest Pitmaston Pineapples were also eaten. I found that a bit surprising, as they had several months to go before ripening, unlike William's Pride.


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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

Looks like your low-hanging fruit is being targeted. Makes me think of groundhog rather than squirrel. My squirrels pull the whole fruit off the tree and take off with it.

You might consider pruning those branches higher.


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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 20, 13 at 16:50

I think you may be right ltilton. But, do groundhogs climb? Hopefully they stay on the ground, but if not I may lose the rest of some varieties. There are still a few dozen WP, but losing 3 PP leaves only 2 left. I also noticed that the 1 Mother apple is gone (it was also ~2' off the ground).

I could cut off the low branches next spring, but that would mean losing a lot of fruiting surface, as I'm trying to keep the trees relatively low. I also have young kids who will enjoy picking such low hanging fruit.

Has anyone had good success at trapping groundhog? It seems I haven't been able to offer it anything enticing enough to bring it into the trap...


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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

Yes, ground hogs can climb. Friend of mine's dog treed a ground hog and he had to take it out with a 22.

Looks like ground hog damage to me, too. They do the same thing to tomatoes - only eat half of it ruining the fruit.

Cindy


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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

Groundhogs can ravish a garden. I've heard they like marshmallows, or was it raccoons that like them?, but this time of year it is not easy to catch them. Stinkbombs in their holes are lethal. They also say pouring ammonia in the holes repeatedly will drive them away. You might have to wait until early spring to get them into a trap. I finally had to use the stinkbomb method in the summer and then trap what I missed the next spring. Northwoodswis


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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

A groundhog has climed my Asian pear (and a Mammoth Sunflower). It took the whole fruit. I was not successful in using Havaheart trap. I put different fruit and veg in the trap. It did work. Got skunk twice!! After a week, I gave up.

That's last year. I did not see much of it this year. Maybe, it has moved!! My William's Pride will need about 3 more weeks this year.


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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Jul 21, 13 at 0:23

I think marshmallows are what Harvestman suggested for racoons (which seem to like apple cores with peanut butter just fine for me). Would a stinkbomb in the hole work even if I don't plug up the exits? From what I can tell, it (or they) live in the retaining wall made of loosely fit large rocks.

I tried to trap earlier this spring, before other food sources became available. Still no luck. It seems really hard to get rid of them. I wonder if peanut butter and plaster of paris would work on them?

This will be my first crop of William's Pride, so the 2 weeks is just a guess. I'm starting to see a bit of color on the apples, but the pictures I see online are much darker red.


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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

Crows have been exacting this kind of damage on our apples.
We're in the middle of drought conditions--are they thirsty?


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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

Yes I have had groundhogs climb into my peach trees multiple times to eat peaches. And that looks like the work of a groundhog.
Right now I have a squirrel working daily on my Enterprise and Mutsu apples, and neither is due to be ripe until Oct. Traps are out baited with sunflower seeds and apple


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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

I had a ground hog problem with both fruit and tomatoes. It was going through fruit so fast I didn't want to waste time with a trap. I set up a lawn chair and a tall saw horse to rest my .22 on. Only had to wait about a 1/2 hour for it to show. Problem solved.

They have very good eye sight so you have to set up where they can't see you or they won't come out into the open.


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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

I meant to say my trapping did not work.

I feel that not only good eye sight, it seems to have a good sense of hearing, too. Every move I made, even so far away, it perked up and started running away.

Can't use a real gun where I live. My friend says a BB gun won't kill it. It has not shown up this year yet but I don't want to jink it.


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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Jul 21, 13 at 11:36

Eboone,
Have you had success with sunflower seeds and apples, or is that just what you are currently trying?

I did some more research last night and found some people reported that covering the cage helped. So, I have it wrapped in a white tarp (an old one), a few feet from what I think is its hole. At the very least that should make it harder for it to steal the bait out through the side (I'm not sure that is happening, but something has been stealing the bait for the last few days).


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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

If I remember correctly, I think canned corn was what got the groundhog into my trap. I made a trail of it from their huge hole to the nearby trap. Once I was rid of them, I then kept an electric fence around the garden with the lowest wire only a few inches off the ground, which seemed to keep the critters out. It takes a lot of vigilence when the wire is that low, as weeds, falling bark, etc., can fall onto it and you end up paying to electrify the soil. And to those who feel one should live and let live, there is a reason they are called "hogs."
Northwoodswis


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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

I've used cantaloupe and had great success with it. Covering the cage does help.

If something is stealing the bait you need a heavier bait. Squirrels can get in and out without setting off the trap. They just don't weigh enough.

Cindy


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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

  • Posted by glib 5.5 (My Page) on
    Sun, Jul 21, 13 at 17:51

cantaloupe rind has worked for me, but I had trouble with a juvenile this year. He was too small to trigger the trap, so I had to gas him in his hole. First time I places a cartridge in each hole (inside large tin cans without both lids) and quickly covered but was not enough. Second time, 2 cartridges in same can, other hole shut, did the job.


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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

  • Posted by eboone 6a - SW PA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jul 21, 13 at 22:57

I have been using the sunflower seeds to try to catch squirrels based on advice from this forum, so far not successful. The apples are also to lure the squirrels, groundhogs and racoons. Got my first coon in the trap today!


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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

I have only trapped feral cats in an effort to "trap, neuter, release". Some traps have a smaller trip plate so it is suggested to tape a piece of cardboard or sturdier material onto the plate to extend it over the bait area. This works great with kittens.

We do cover the cage as well, but it is suggested to not actually set the trap first. If you leave it a few days and allow them to take the bait you are more often successful. Take the back door off of the trap and use that as the entrance point for a few days, it usually disarms their instincts. Placing newspaper inside the trap also will disarm their instincts as the hard wire is covered.

Finally, when it's time to set the trap put only a small amount of bait and make it less accessible. With feral cats it is suggested to bait with tuna or mackerel and set the bait down on the ground first, then put the trap over the bait and press down so the bait squishes through. This makes it so they have to really get onto the trip plate in order to get the bait.


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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

An air rifle that shoots pellets is another choice if you are not having any luck with live trapping. A .22 pellet will do the trick and many air rifles such as the Gamo Whisper are fairly quiet.
I know it's not a choice for everyone, just an option.


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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 23, 13 at 23:37

Those are some good ideas MileHighGirl. In particular, putting the bait under the cage makes a lot of sense, as the animal will need to work to get at it, increasing the chances of tripping the trap. It's also important to secure the trap (a rock on each side), as I've seen the trap moved to get at bait which fell through.

Fred, my area is a bit too urban for guns. Besides, I'm a bad enough shot I would probably hurt my trees, house or neighbors more than the target. When I was a kid, around 8 years old, I was growing corn (rather poorly) in my parent's garden. A neighborhood kid (who I was not friendly with) helped himself and I chased him down, almost getting him with a rock. I missed him, but got his father's car windshield...Hmm...Maybe that's not a great story to drive home the point "look what can happen when you don't hit what you aim at."

I finally managed to catch the ground hog. Wrapping the cage in the small tarp seems to have made the difference. Though I also used a larger chunk of apple core to make it tougher for small animals to carry away (per Cindy's suggestion), which probably helped. I may not need the cantaloupe I just bought- I got home with it to find the groundhog caught. **Knocks on wood that there aren't any more ground hogs around**


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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Jul 24, 13 at 23:26

The bad news is that I saw several additional lost apples this morning. The good news is that this appears to be a reproducible technique- I got the 2nd ground hog in as many days. Apple core (from Pink Lady), inside a tarp-wrapped cage seems to do the trick.

I'm not sure if the tarp works because they don't recognize it as a trap, or because it makes it hard to steal the bait through the cage, but I'll keep doing the same thing as long as it works.


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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

i went to the vegetable garden this morn and found a half dozen squash gnawed on - they can't just take one and eat it, no, they have to ruin as many as they can. So I'm trying the tarp method - in my case an old green bedsheet that I hope looks a lot like squash leaves.


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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

Get a lab and that should take care of the problem mine eats and catches everything that gets in my gardens and I havent seen a animal in there after I had him for two weeks. Does anyone know a good recipe for rabbit. lol


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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

An earlier question of this sort led us to set a trap in the orchard. What we got was a skunk! A young one at that. Also those who were certain the critter was a groundhog did not see the ones eaten up high in the tree (Lodi in this case). So we had both birds and ground dwellers as thieves.


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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

Will jaybirds eat apples on a tree? I'm seeing apples like the OP's pictures. My area is not known for critters - high desert, because of cost of water there shouldn't be an apple tree here - I see jaybirds, quail and sparrows in the area.

edit - Just caught it in the act, A brown speckled bird about the size of a jay with a jay like beak furiously consuming an apple on the tree. Persons who have lived here two years say they have never seen this bird before.

edit - Confirmed. It is a juvenile starling.

This post was edited by albert_135 on Sat, Sep 14, 13 at 15:15


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RE: What would leave a half eaten apple on the tree?

There can be susceptible to a range of pests, diseases and disorders. It may be the caterpillar, squirrel, larvae of apple sawfly or bullfinches.


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