Codling Moth Identification
As a worldwide pest, Codling Moths damage the fruits of apples, pears and quince during the insect's worm stage. The adult Codling Moths are 1/2 to 3/4 inch long with gray wings and blend well with tree bark. The codling moth has a coppery-dark band on the tip of their wings. The larvae are whitish, pink worms with a dark head. These caterpillars can be found in apples or pears.
Codling moths can infest every apple in an orchard if left unchecked. It is important to check every couple of weeks about six weeks after bloom for signs of damage.
Codling Moth Life Cycle
Codling Moths overwinter in a full grown larvae stage under bark and in soil around the trees. After they pupate in cocoons, they come out as adults in March or April. They lay eggs and the damaging larvae caterpillars hatch out of eggs. The moths emerge 3-5 times a year (depending on the climate). Controlling the moths during these times, before the eggs are laid can help prevent worm damage to fruit. The Codling Moth trap traps male moths. Since the male moths fly at the same time as female moths, these traps are also helpful to monitor flight activity in order to apply insecticide treatment. Place the trap in the trees 1-2 weeks before bud breaks, in early spring. Check them every couple of days for moths.
Codling Moth Damage
The codling moth worms burrow through the fruit, leaving brown frass and tunnels. These larvae can infest up to 90% of the fruit if not examined and treated.
Codling Moth Control
If the Codling Moth population has been built up for a season or two it may be more difficult to treat. If infestations are low, non chemical means such as sanitation (getting rid of infested fruiit) and traps may be sufficient.
If is is more severe use Fruit Tree Spray , Bonide Malathion , or Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT) Concentrate . It is important to time treatments for best results. Spray once the larvae have appeared, but before they have entered the fruit.
Although Codling Moth larvae are not on the Bacillus Thuringiensis product label, Bacillus Thuringiensis works for redbanded leafroller, tufted apple budmoth, variegated leafroller, tent caterpillar, fruit tree leafroller, and gypsy moths on apples.
Timing of Insecticide Treatments
Spray when eggs or newly hatched larvae first appear and repeat applications. Once the worm has gone inside the fruit, it is protected from insecticides.