Codling Moth Control on Apples, Pears – Identify and Prevent

Codling Moth Control on Apples and Pears – One of the most prevalent apple pests is the classic pest affecting agricultural crops, especially fruits like pears and apples. It’s a formidable foe, but you’re not helpless. There are numerous ways to tackle the codling moth.

Codling moth (Cydia Pomonella) starts to attack in the early spring, and the larval feeding tunnels it excavates can soon ruin the fun of cultivating your own fruit. The damage patterns left by the codling moth can be used to identify it, as explained in this article. Important methods for dealing with codling moth control are listed here as well.

Note: By the way, the codling moth and the apple webbing moth are sometimes confused with each other. The Codling moth does not create a web, therefore the differentiation is clear.

How to Control and Get Rid of Codling Moths (Larvae)?

The codling moth can be controlled in a number of ways. The most important ones are highlighted below in the succinct form. Because of the codling moth’s sensitivity to temperature, it’s difficult to know when to use control measures.

Mid-April to early May is when the first generation of codling moths lays its eggs. From July onwards, a new generation of moths emerges.

For moth flight monitoring, utilize a codling moth trap. Traps are most effective between April to early May, as well as between July and August. The pests cannot be controlled with codling moth traps, but they can be used to track the moth’s flight and hence the time of its mating.

When it comes to scent detection, yellow panels or specialized pheromone traps are often employed. Yellow traps only catch codling moths; pheromone traps only catch them. This makes the assessment easier.

Moreover, it keeps harmless insects in our garden from dying on the yellow traps’ adhesive surfaces. Because the first larvae hatch 7 – 15 days following egg-laying, the moth flight might help you plan your treatment schedule. Apples must be checked and treated frequently during this window.

Using Chemical Insecticide Sprays

It is not recommended for amateur gardeners to use chemical codling moth sprays, and using them isn’t practical because there are so many biological ways to control the pest. Biological (with safety approval) codling moth sprays that have been given the green light-use granulose viruses as their active ingredient.

In the meantime, many codling moth maggots have evolved resistance to the biological agent. Only early larvae are susceptible to the granulose virus preparations, thus timing and repetition are critical.

Nematodes to combat Codling Moth Larvae

Nematodes are also a good option for dealing with codling moths as they are a biological, safe, and non-toxic remedy. Other creatures, insects, and plants are also spared, in addition to humans and the environment. Nematodes can be used to control fungus gnats and ants as well as the codling moth.

Nematodes belonging to the genus Steinernema Feltiae parasitize the Codling moth larvae and prevent them from reproducing by consuming them. It’s no surprise that apple tree larvae prefer cold, dry places to spend the winter. So, from September through March, spray the apple trees’ trunks with a nematode suspension.

Because nematodes are susceptible to UV radiation, low temperatures, and desiccation. The best weather conditions for spraying are cloud cover, humidity, as well as temperatures over 12°C. Using this strategy allows you to treat the larvae all winter long because they stay in the same location.

#Tip: It’s important to remember that the nematode family is huge and diversified. There is no danger to humans, animals, or other garden plants since nematodes target only a few hosts.

Ichneumon Wasps Against Codling Moths

Some ichneumon wasps help control codling moth populations by feeding on the pest’s eggs, which are parasitized by the wasps. Using smaller commercially available moth cards as soon as possible is worthwhile. This is most effective when done in the months of April and May.

Home Remedies to Control Codling Moth

You can win the battle against codling moth even if you don’t invest a lot of money. You could, for example, make your own anti-codling moth spray with wormwood. To make wormwood liquid manure, combine 10 liters of water with 300 grams of fresh wormwood leaves.

Afterward, allow it to sit for around 14 days while you stir it every now and again. The leaves are then filtered, and the finally obtained liquid manure is suitable to be used as a codling moth spray.

Apple trees can be easily and affordably protected by putting 10 – 20 cm high rings of corrugated cardboard sheets around their trunks. Because codling moth larvae love to pupate on cardboard, it’s a good idea to start attaching them in June.

Now all you have to do is keep an eye on the cardboard rings for larvae and remove them as needed. Contrary to popular belief, using glue rings to try and fend off codling moths frequently fails.

Prevent Codling Moth Larvae Infestation

Codling moth infestations can’t always be stopped, but there are steps you may do to minimize the damage they do.

  1. During the winter, keep shaking the apple trees regularly as this will cause the pupated larvae to fall down. A huge sheet or a tarp underneath the tree will make it much easier to collect the larvae, later on, so do this if you can!
  2. The larvae can also be removed by scouring and scrubbing the trunks, especially in older trees.
  3. Removing infected fruit as soon as possible is essential. This will help keep your apple larvae from maturing into adult pests.
  4. Encourage natural predators of codling moths like earwigs and birds to help control the population. See our post on bird-friendly gardens for additional information on how to achieve this.

Identify Codling Moth Infestation

The larval feeding holes in the fruit, often known as worm bites, indicate codling moth damage. Small black fecal particles can also be observed in the fruit’s feeding apertures, which have been sliced open for inspection. Unripe apples drop and decay if the infestation occurs when the apples are still young.

The apples could still be used even if the infestation occurs later in the year. However, it is necessary to remove the diseased tissue. In addition, apples have a shorter shelf life.

Pheromone traps for codling moths allow for early detection. A sticky trap is used to catch male codling moths using pheromones. The moth’s movement and subsequent egg laying can be identified in this manner.

What does codling moth look like?

You must first identify the codling moth if you hope to control it. There are usually two generations of codling moths annually in our area; they are brown-gray butterflies. When fully grown, adults have a gray-brown color with a 2-centimeter wingspan. The tips of the wings are copper-colored and have light-colored stripes running along with them.

The first batch of adult moths emerges in the early spring. The second generation emerges in July following the egg-laying, larval stage, and pupal stage. At dusk, when the temperature drops below 20 degrees Celsius, the little butterflies come out to play.

The oval, glossy, shield-like shape of codling moth eggs identifies them as such. Shortly after hatching, female codling moths deposit their eggs on apple fruit and foliage.

Codling moth larvae are about 2 millimeters long when they hatch and are white-yellowish overall with a black-colored head. They go in search of apples to eat and bore into each apple. After three to four weeks, the fully-grown caterpillars move back to the apple’s trunk, where they will pupate. There, they develop into pupae.

The larvae of the codling moth, which have grown to a size of 2 cm, may or may not go on to become adult butterflies depending on the season. Otherwise, they’ll hide under the bark, where they’ll be safe while the rest of us hibernate.