What Eats Apples

Discover the fascinating world of creatures that feast on apples. Explore the eating habits of insects, birds, mammals, and more in this informative article. Uncover the ecological significance of apples and gain a deeper appreciation for their role in ecosystems.

In this article, you will explore the diverse array of creatures that consume apples as part of their diet. From the smallest insects to the largest mammals, there exists an intriguing web of life that relies on this fruit for sustenance. Through delving into the eating habits of various species such as insects, birds, and mammals, we will uncover the intricate relationships and ecological significance of apples in the natural world. Witness the fascinating strategies that animals have evolved to obtain this delicious and nutrient-rich resource, and gain a deeper appreciation for the role that apples play in maintaining the health and balance of ecosystems.

Animals that eat apples


Deer are known to be herbivores, primarily feeding on plants and vegetation. However, they have been observed to eat apples when given the opportunity. This behavior is more common during the apple harvest season when fallen or ripe apples are readily available on the ground. While apples may not be a staple in their diet, deer can consume them as an additional food source.


Raccoons are opportunistic omnivores, meaning they can consume a wide variety of foods. While they predominantly feed on small animals and insects, they have been known to eat apples as well. Raccoons are agile climbers and can raid apple trees, especially during the harvest season. They may also scavenge for fallen apples on the ground, making them versatile consumers of this popular fruit.


Squirrels are well-known for their love of nuts, but they also have an affinity for apples. These small rodents are skilled climbers and can easily navigate apple trees to access their desired food. Squirrels will often take advantage of ripe apples, munching on them or carrying them away to store for later consumption. Their persistent foraging behavior can sometimes lead to damage, particularly in orchards.

Mice and Rats

Though not commonly associated with apple consumption, mice and rats have been observed nibbling on apples in certain situations. These small rodents are known to feed on a variety of foods, including fruits. In orchards, where apples are plentiful, mice and rats may take advantage of fallen apples or damaged fruit. They can cause damage by gnawing on apples, making them less desirable for human consumption.

CategoryNameDescriptionImpact/Relevance Scale (1-10)
AnimalsDeerConsumes fallen apples during harvest season7
RaccoonsKnown for raiding apple trees6
SquirrelsDamages orchards by foraging5
BirdsCrowsOpportunistic eaters, feeds on fallen apples4
StarlingsOften seen pecking at ripe apples3
InsectsCodling MothCauses significant damage to apple yields9
Apple MaggotLeads to fruit rot8
DiseasesApple ScabFungal disease affecting leaves and fruit8
Fire BlightCan lead to significant tree damage9
Domesticated AnimalsHorsesEnjoy apples as a treat3
PigsConsume apples, often given as part of diet4
Human ProductsApple PieClassic dessert made from apples7
CiderFermented apple drink6
Apple ShampooHair product with apple extracts2
Apple DerivativesApple PectinUsed in jams and jellies5
Apple Seed OilCommon in cosmetic industry4

Birds that eat apples


Crows are highly intelligent birds and have a diverse diet that includes both plant and animal matter. While they primarily feed on insects, small mammals, and carrion, crows have been known to eat apples when available. This opportunistic behavior is more common during the apple season, where they may raid orchards or scavenge for fallen apples.


Starlings are social birds known for their unique singing abilities. They have adapted well to urban environments and have a generalist diet. While they primarily feed on insects and berries, starlings also find apples to be an appealing food source. They can be seen pecking at ripe apples in orchards or foraging for fallen fruit on the ground.


Thrushes are a family of birds that include species such as robins and American thrushes. These birds have a varied diet that consists of insects, worms, and fruits. Apples are among the fruits they consume, often plucking them from trees or picking at fallen fruit in orchards or gardens.


Blackbirds, including species like the common blackbird and the red-winged blackbird, are skilled foragers with a diverse diet. While they primarily feed on insects and earthworms, they will also consume fruits, including apples. Blackbirds are known to visit orchards and gardens in search of ripe apples to supplement their diet.

What Eats Apples

Insects that eat apples

Codling Moth

The codling moth is one of the most common pests that affect apple trees and their fruit. The adult female lays eggs on the apple, and once hatched, the larvae burrow into the fruit, causing damage and allowing for secondary infections. These insects can greatly reduce apple yields and quality if left unchecked.

Apple Maggot

Apple maggots are small, fly-like insects that lay their eggs on apple fruit. The larvae that hatch feed on the flesh of the apple, causing it to rot and become inedible. Apple maggots can significantly impact apple orchards by reducing the overall quality and marketability of the fruit.

Apple Leafroller

Apple leafrollers are caterpillars that feed on apple foliage, rolling and tying leaves together with silk to create a shelter. They primarily consume the tender leaves, potentially hindering the photosynthetic process and affecting the overall health and vigor of the apple tree.

Apple Sawfly

Apple sawflies are small, flying insects that lay their eggs on apple trees. The larvae that hatch feed on the leaves, buds, and fruits of the apple tree. These pests can cause significant damage to the foliage and fruit, ultimately impacting the tree’s overall productivity and health.

Disease and pests that affect apples

Apple Scab

Apple scab is a fungal disease that affects apple trees and their fruit. It causes dark, scaly lesions on the leaves, fruit, and in severe cases, the twigs and branches. Apple scab can reduce the overall quality of the fruit, rendering it unmarketable, and in severe cases, even lead to the defoliation and decline of the tree.

Fire Blight

Fire blight is a bacterial disease that affects a variety of fruit trees, including apple trees. It causes wilting, blackening, and a burnt appearance of the blossoms, shoots, and branches. This disease can spread rapidly, leading to significant damage, reduced crop yields, and even death of the apple tree if not properly managed.

Cedar Apple Rust

Cedar apple rust is a fungal disease that requires both apple trees and cedar trees for its life cycle. It causes bright orange or rust-colored lesions on the leaves, fruit, and occasionally the branches of apple trees. While it does not usually cause severe damage to the tree’s overall health, it can significantly affect fruit quality and yield if left untreated.

Apple Maggot

As previously mentioned, apple maggots not only consume the flesh of apples but also pose a significant pest problem for apple orchards. Their feeding activity can lead to fruit rot and other secondary infections, ultimately reducing the marketable yield and quality of the apples.

What Eats Apples

Organisms that damage apple trees

Apple Tree Borers

Apple tree borers are the larvae of certain species of beetles. They burrow into the trunk, branches, or roots of apple trees, causing damage and weakening the overall structure of the tree. If left untreated, severe infestations can lead to the death of the apple tree.


Aphids are small, sap-sucking insects that can infest apple trees. They reproduce rapidly and can quickly form large colonies on the leaves, shoots, and buds of the tree. Aphids extract vital nutrients from the tree, potentially weakening its overall health and reducing its ability to produce healthy fruit.

Apple Tree Scale

Apple tree scales are tiny insects that attach themselves to the branches and trunks of apple trees. They feed by piercing the bark and sucking sap from the tree. In large numbers, scales can cause significant damage to the tree, affecting its growth and overall vigor.

Spider Mites

Spider mites are tiny arachnids that feed on the sap of apple trees. They create characteristic webbing and can cause discoloration, stippling, and wilting of the leaves. Severe infestations of spider mites can significantly reduce the tree’s ability to photosynthesize, leading to decreased fruit production and overall health.

Domesticated animals and apples


Horses can enjoy apples as a treat or supplement to their regular diet. However, it’s important to feed them apples in moderation as excessive consumption may lead to digestive disorders. Removing the seeds and cutting the apples into smaller pieces also ensures safe and easy consumption for horses.


Cows are herbivorous animals that primarily feed on grass and forage. While apples are not a common part of their natural diet, they can consume them if offered. However, similar to horses, care should be taken to feed cows apples in moderation as part of a balanced diet.


Pigs are omnivores and opportunistic eaters that tend to enjoy a wide variety of foods, including apples. Apples can be a nutritious addition to a pig’s diet, but as with any food, it should be given in moderation to avoid overconsumption and potential digestive issues.


Sheep are herbivorous animals that graze on grass and other types of vegetation. While apples are not a staple food for sheep, they can be given as a snack or treat in moderation. Similar to other domesticated animals, it is essential to avoid excessive consumption to maintain a balanced diet.


Goats are known for their browsing behavior and diverse palate. They enjoy a variety of plants, including apple tree leaves, twigs, and fallen fruit. While goats can consume apples, it’s important to feed them in moderation to maintain a proper nutritional balance.

Human consumption of apples

Fresh apples

Fresh apples are a popular choice among consumers, whether enjoyed as a snack or incorporated into salads, sandwiches, or other culinary creations. Apples come in a range of varieties, each with its unique flavor profile and texture, making them a versatile and healthy choice for human consumption.

Apple juice

Apple juice is a common beverage made by pressing or extracting the juice from apples. It is consumed worldwide and is often enjoyed as a refreshing and natural source of hydration. Apple juice can be consumed on its own or used as an ingredient in various recipes and mixed drinks.

Apple sauce

Apple sauce is made by cooking and pureeing apples, resulting in a smooth, semi-liquid consistency. It is often sweetened and flavored with spices such as cinnamon, making it a popular accompaniment to dishes or as a standalone snack. Apple sauce is commonly used as a topping, filling, or ingredient in desserts and baked goods.

Apple pie

Apple pie is a classic and beloved dessert made with a pastry crust filled with sliced apples, sweeteners, and spices. This timeless dessert is often enjoyed with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. The combination of sweet, tart apples and a flaky crust makes apple pie a favorite among many.

Traditional culinary uses of apples


Cider is a traditional beverage made from the fermentation of apple juice. This alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink is enjoyed in many cultures and can have various flavor profiles, ranging from sweet to dry. Cider is often associated with autumn and harvest festivals, where freshly pressed apple juice is transformed into this flavorful beverage.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is produced by fermenting apple cider. It is widely used in cooking, as a salad dressing, and as a natural household cleaning agent. Apple cider vinegar is known for its tangy flavor and potential health benefits, such as promoting digestion and aiding in weight management.

Apple jelly

Apple jelly is a fruit preserve made by cooking apple juice with sweeteners and pectin to achieve a gel-like consistency. This flavorful spread is often enjoyed on toast, scones, or as an accompaniment to various cheeses. The natural sweetness and apple flavor make it a versatile addition to many culinary creations.

Apple brandy

Apple brandy, also known as applejack, is a spirit produced by distilling fermented apple juice or cider. This potent beverage is often aged in oak barrels, contributing to its unique flavor profile. Apple brandy is enjoyed in cocktails, as a digestif, or used in cooking to add depth and complexity to dishes.

What Eats Apples

Apple byproducts

Apple pomace

Apple pomace refers to the pulpy residue left after apples have been pressed or juiced. It includes the skin, pulp, and cores of the fruit. Apple pomace can be used as animal feed, composted to enrich soil, or processed further to extract other valuable components.

Apple pectin

Pectin is a polysaccharide found in the cell walls of fruits, including apples. It is used as a gelling agent in food preparation, particularly in the production of jams and jellies. Apple pectin can be extracted from apple pomace and further refined for various commercial applications.

Apple peel extract

Apple peel extract is a concentrated form of the compounds found in the peel of apples. It can be obtained through various extraction methods and is often used as a natural flavoring or ingredient in cosmetic and skincare products. Apple peel extract is valued for its potential antioxidant and other beneficial properties.

Apple seed oil

Apple seed oil is derived from the seeds of apples and is rich in essential fatty acids and antioxidants. It is commonly used in the cosmetic industry for its moisturizing and nourishing properties. Apple seed oil can be found in moisturizers, serums, and hair care products, providing a natural source of hydration and protection.

Apple-based products

Apple face masks

Apple face masks are cosmetic products formulated with apple extracts or apple-derived ingredients. These masks are often used in skincare routines to promote hydration, brighten the complexion, and provide various benefits for the skin. Apple face masks can be found in various forms, such as sheet masks or clay masks.

Apple shampoo

Apple shampoo is a hair care product that incorporates apple extracts or apple-scented ingredients. It is used to cleanse the hair, improve its texture, and provide a refreshing and fruity aroma. Apple shampoo is widely available and appeals to those seeking a natural and aromatic hair care experience.

Apple-scented candles

Apple-scented candles are popular home fragrance products that aim to recreate the aroma of fresh apples. These candles provide a warm and inviting atmosphere while adding a touch of fruity ambiance to any space. Apple-scented candles are a favorite choice for those who enjoy the comforting scent of ripe apples.

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