Summary: Codling moth is among the most essential pests of apple and pear fruits. Worms tunnel in and destroy entirety fruits yet damage deserve to be decreased by carefully timed control measures.

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Jack DeAngelis, PhD OSU Ext. Entomologist (ret.)

What room codling moths?

Codling moth larvae space the worms in "wormy apples" (photo, reduced right). Codling moth adult are tiny grey moths v a coppery-colored band on the end of the wing (photo, upper right). Codling moth larvae are probably the most vital insect pests the apples, pears and also walnuts worldwide. Larvae infest the fruit or nuts and can damages a far-ranging percentage of a chop if no managed.

There space 2-4 generations the codling moth every year depending on the length of the growing season. Adult moths very first emerge in so late spring. After mating female moths lay eggs on branches and also leaves, later on generations lay egg on fruit also (see What perform Codling Moth egg Look Like?).

Hatching larvae instantly bore right into the fruit, or nuts, and begin feeding top top the seeds. Feeding damage can be extensive and may render the fruit or nuts useless. ~ completing development they leave the fruit or nut and seek a location to pupate either listed below the tree or under bark scales. Emerging female moths usage a sex pheromone to entice male moths before mating (see below).

Can codling moth damages be prevented there is no insecticides?

Commercial fruit and also nut growers usage insecticides, traps, and mating disruption pheromones to protect orchards versus codling moths. Homeowners can use many of these very same techniques but on a smaller sized scale.


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Codling moth larva and also damage to a Red very delicious apple. Photo by Doug Wilson, USDA/ARS


Most home orchardists space willing to expropriate at the very least a tiny percentage the wormy fruit. Therefore your level of regulate can be much less than 100%. If, however, you room unwilling to accept any kind of damaged develop at all then friend will need to commit to a continuous program of insecticide applied about every 2 weeks during the growing season.

Organic codling moth control

Step 1 -- Pick and also destroy any type of fruit or nuts that show signs of infestation together as outside holes filled v waste indigenous boring larvae. Trees should be checked every 1-2 weeks after bloom. Also, choose up and discard any type of fruit or nuts that have prematurely dropped indigenous the tree because these may be infested as well.

Step 2 -- usage pheromone traps to capture as numerous male moths together possible. Cave at the very least one trap per tree, however two to 4 in a large tree is better. This traps emit a odor (pheromone) the lures masculine moths ~ above a sticky surface. Traps have the right to be very effective because that disrupting moth mating and also for timing other regulate activities. Cave traps quickly after bloom.

Step 3 -- when pheromone traps begin catching moths apply your first spray the horticultural oil within a week. This oil will kill eggs and young larvae top top the surface of fruit and also branches. Repeat oil sprays together directed top top product label till all fruit is picked.

Step 4 -- Another very effective, however time consuming, an approach is to simply bag individual apples or pears on the tree. This will avoid moths native laying egg on brand-new fruit. Bag fruit 4-6 weeks ~ bloom however only fruit that shows no evidence of infestation. Use regular, paper, "lunch"-style bags. Reduced a small slit in the bottom of the bag, location fruit through slit and also staple the other end shut. You might want come bag only sufficient fruit for her fresh needs. Bags must be changed if damaged by rain or sprays, etc.

Control that codling moth v organic sprays

The typical insecticide treatment for codling moth is to spray trees every 10 days come 2 weeks complying with fruit set with one insecticide the kills moth eggs and newly flower larvae. Plenty of home orchardists have actually resisted this method, however, since of the toxicity of older insecticides. Newly a brand-new class of low toxicity organic insecticide, referred to as spinosad (right), has been introduced that residence gardeners have the right to use for sure (see using Spinosad In Orchards).

Spinosad insecticide have the right to be applied every 10 work as lengthy as moths room are being caught in pheromone catch (see Step 2 above). Spinosad is a much safer and is a an ext environmentally friendly alternate to traditional insecticides because that this application.

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Mission: To provide accurate, up-to-date and unbiased details for solving usual insect and mite problems around your home, business and also landscape utilizing least-toxic methods.