Cydia pomonella

Scientific Name Cydia pomonella (Linnaeus)
Synonyms Carpocapsa pomonella, Laspeyresia pomonella, Enarmonia pomonella
Common Names English: Codling moth; German: Apfelwickler; Spanish: Gusano de las manzanas; French: Carpocapse des pommes; Italian: Baco delle mele
Description The adult moths have a wingspan of about 15-22 mm (0.58-0.85 inch). Their forewings are gray to dark brown and bear a copper-colored circular marking near the tip of the forewing; the hindwings are brown. The larvae are white when newly hatched, but soon become pink. They are up to 20 mm (0.78 inch) long.



C. pomonella females lay 50-100 single eggs each, directly on the developing fruits or on adjacent leaves or shoots. When the larvae hatch 5-18 days later, the caterpillar first undergoes a so-called "wandering stage" (2 to 5 days). After a couple of exploratory bites, it penetrates a fruit where a second fruit or a leaf is touching, or at the stalk or stalk-eye. The entry hole is frequently surrounded by a dark reddish ring. Here, the larvae pass through five stages during a period of 3-5 weeks, feeding on the immature seeds and the interior of the fruit.
The last instar before pupation will come out of the fruit again, wander down the tree, and hide in a crack in the bark or a similar place to complete its development.
Young apples infested early by the first generation just drop prematurely. Those attacked later will be damaged by nibbling on the surface, tunneling and soiling with frass and will therefore be unmarketable.
A characteristic sign of infestation by C. pomonella are the entry holes filled with frass.


C. pomonella can have 1-4 generations per year, depending on climate.
In its hiding place, mostly somewhere on the tree, the codling moth larva builds a rather sturdy cocoon. It either pupates directly or falls into diapause. The immediately-pupating larvae will result in another generation of adults within the same season; the others hibernate.
Diapausing larvae are able to withstand quite low temperatures. Severe frost will, however, kill many of them. In spring, when temperatures exceed 10°C (50°F), they also pupate inside the cocoon. The adult moths emerge 2-4 weeks later, at about the end of bloom. They are most active around dusk.
Diapausing larvae are able to withstand rather low temperatures. Severe frost will, however, kill many of them. In spring, when temperatures climb to above 10°C (50°F), they likewise pupate inside the cocoon. 2-4 weeks later the adult moths emerge, at about the end of bloom. They are most active around dusk.
The codling moth originated in Asia Minor but is nowadays spread all over the world, wherever apples are grown.


Additional Crop Information

Mainly apple, pear, quince, but also peach, plum, apricot and sometimes walnut.

Agricultural Importance

Cydia pomonella is regarded as the most important pest of apple. Sometimes almost the entire crop will be damaged.


Useful non-chemical contribution to Integrated Weed Management

Proper orchard hygiene is important. All infested fruit should be destroyed. Larval development continues in dropped fruit, which must therefore be removed as well.
Once inside the fruit, the larvae are well protected. Exact timing (through careful monitoring) and the use of a degree-day model can help ensure maximum efficiency of necessary pesticide treatments.

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