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Codling moth

Date:2017-08-16 16:58

Codling moth (Cydia pomonella), family Tortricidae


Apple, pear, walnut, and quince.


Codling moth is native to the wild apple forests the foothills of the Tianshan mountain range in western China, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.  It was introduced to Europe in the days of the Roman empire and to north and south America, South Africa and Australia with European settlement. With the exceptions of Korea, Japan, and the eastern provinces of China, it is found everywhere in the world that apples and pears are grown. In China, it is established in the provinces of Xinjiang, Gansu, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang where it is a pest of apples and pears. It has recently entered Liaoning.


Codling moth larvae burrow in fruits causing fruit to rot and fall. If not controlled, infestation level frequently reaches 50% and can be up to 100%. There are a number of chemical insecticides which are effective for codling moth if spray coverage is perfect but the pest has a history of development of resistance. Larvae burrow into pears through calyx. In apples, they may enter through the calyx or on the side of the fruit. Apples damaged by codling moth show brown frass from the hole. When codling moth feed on pears, frass is black. Codling moth larvae usually tunnel into the center of fruits and feed on seeds.




Life cycle

Codling moth may have as many as 4 generations per year in the hottest parts of China. In more temperate regions it has 2 complete and a half generations. In Heilongjiang, codling moth have only one generation each year. Codling moth overwinter as mature  larvae in silk cocoons in cracks and crevices on the tree trunk. In the northern hemisphere, they pupate from April and May. There are two emergence peaks at end of May and early June that are both part of the overwintering population. The first generation peak flight usually occurs at the end of July and the second generation in late August. Codling moth eggs and larvae do not develop when the daily average is below 10°c and their maximum development speed is reached when the daily average is 31°c. Female codling moths prefer laying eggs on smooth surface therefore early eggs are usually laid on leaves. When fruits grows bigger they lay eggs on fruit surface.Larvae need around 30 days to develop to maturity. Mature larvae exit fruits and pupate in cracks and crevices in the bark.Larvae maturing in mid to late summer do not develop to pupae and enter diapause and over winter as larvae. Most spin cocoons in cracks on the tree trunk. Those that enter the soil usually do not survive. Some larvae remain in diapause for two years. In this way, the codling moth population is protected against fluctuations in fruitproduction from year to year.


Adult: Body length is around 8mm, and wind span is 15–22 mm. Grey color of the body, with two oval dark marks in the margin of forewings. There are three copper stripes and several brown stripes within the mark. The marks and stripes of the base of forewings are darker than the center part of forewings.

Eggs: Flat and oval shape 1.1-1.2mm in length and 0.9-1.0mm in width. The newly-laid eggs are semitransparent waxy in appearance. As the eggs develop, the center becomes yellowish.  A red circle forms close to hatching and the black head of the larvae can be seen through the egg surface.

Larva: Young larvae are white-yellowish. Mature larvae are reddish, with the body length of 14-18mm. Pronotum and pygidium is light brown with dark brown spots. Larvae have no anal comb – this allows them to be distinguished from Oriental fruit moth larvae using a binocular microscope.

Pupa: Yellow-brownish with 7-10 mm in length. Eyes are black. Mouthpart is no longer than forelegs.


Similar pest: Oriental fruit moth.

Distinguish: Codling moth would feed on seeds while oriental fruit moth  do not. Oriental fruit moth damages young shoots at the early growth season. Oriental fruit moth larva has anal comb at the end of the body.

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