Apples and pears can both be victims of the codling moth. This moth lays eggs which hatch into worms which eat their way into either apples or pears as well as some other fruits. This, of course, ruins the fruit and makes it unsellable. My father fought this problem in his orchards for as long as I can remember. Some early sprays for this bug included lead arsenic, sulphur, and horticulture oil. These were only partially effective and had to be applied almost weekly. A big side effect of this regimen was that the horses that pulled the spray machine would get lead poisoning and would become very ill. The person doing the spraying had to wear a respirator to keep from getting the poison.
In the late 40s a new pesticide, DDT, was introduced into the market and seemed to be the wonder pesticide that would solve all of the farmers’ problems. It had to be used only once in the spring and would control the codling moth and other pests for the entire summer. It killed everything. It would kill the grasshoppers. The cats would then eat these dead grasshoppers and the cats would die. It did not take long for the scientific community to realize that this pesticide was an environmental disaster. It was soon banned for use anywhere and as far as I know is now banned world wide. It was a good example of how man can negatively disrupt the natural environment in an attempt to solve some problem.
By Richard Gappmayer