My first apple tree fruited for the first time this year and made a few fruit, so not much to go on yet, but by having a really diverse food forest with lots of wild plants, it has provided habitat for tons of beneficial wasps and insects, and it seems like they are controlling the codling moths, apple maggots, and other bugs to a minimal level. I had a little damage this year, but it was very minimal.
If I see bugs in my food forest now, it's mainly beneficial bugs. I still see a few "pests", but the majority of them I see tend to be trapped in a spider web or in the clutches of a beneficial wasp or robber fly.
I put "pests" in quotations, because I'm starting to see them in a very different light. Up until very recently, I saw them as something that needed to be eliminated, or something I was fighting against. My view on them has completely changed though, and I look at them as a valuable partner, that has very valuable things to show me, and as a very beneficial part of the ecosystem. I'm starting to think that they are actually doing me a favor and are just doing their part to remove the problem varieties from the genetic pool.
Apples seem to be one of the most genetically manipulated crops that we humans have tinkered with. I think some of the apple breeding efforts have been awesome and delicious, but I also think that the bugs are just trying to tell us we are headed in the wrong direction with some aspects of our breeding. And of course they can't physically tell us what the problems are, they can just help to eliminate the varieties that may be a problem.
The good news is that there still seems to be a good amount of apple genetic diversity available today, and that some varieties are a lot more resistant to them, whether it be thicker and tougher skin, or harder or denser flesh, or the time that they ripen, when there are not many insects around. I've started to focus heavily on variety selection and future breeding goals to produce fruit that is naturally pest and disease resistant, and that are tough and thrive in my hot, humid, and bug and disease prevalent area.
Here's one of the apples I picked this year. It has a few cosmetic blemishes, but after rubbing it with a damp cloth, it comes right off, revealing a beautiful fruit. I actually like eating them better personally now without scrubbing them off. I tend to think that the microscopic organisms living on the skin could be extremely healthy and see the imperfections as beautiful in their own way, every apple becomes beautifully unique, and it's a constant reminder of the natural, no spray, and nutrient rich way in how they were grown.
Hope you get some tasty apples John!