How do I get rid of codling moth?



Codling moths lay their eggs on apples and pears. The eggs eventually develop into larva that bore into the fruit. It is the larva or worm that becomes a worry to gardeners and fruit growers.

Over the past few years, many products to control codling moth have been taken off the market or their use has been restricted to professionals only. However, a few effective products remain on the market, both old and new.

Mike Pace, Extension agriculture agent and Tony McCammon, horticulture assistant, both from Box Elder County, conducted trials last year to determine which products are most effective against codling moth. Their findings follow.

· The most important finding is controlling the first generation of the pest, including timing the spray to coincide with the results of Utah State University’s trapping and monitoring. Other important practices include spraying for proper coverage and thinning the apples appropriately. When two apples touch because of inadequate thinning, spray coverage is diminished. One small, unprotected spot leaves an entrance to the apple that a worm will likely find.

· Some products work better than others. The most successful insecticides are Sevin and Malathion. Sevin is 89 percent effective and Malathion gives 75 percent protection when each is sprayed according to label instructions. For most homeowners, this amount of control is acceptable.

· Organic controls that were tried include Syd-X (coddling moth virus), Last Call (pheromone attract and kill product) and apple bags. Syd-X is not readily available for homeowner use, but showed great promise with 70 percent control. It may be on the market in the next few years, but is expected to be expensive. Last Call was found to be a little worse than not spraying at all. It did a great job of attracting the moths, but did very little to kill them. The apple bags had a 98 percent success rate after two cover sprays were applied before putting bags on the apples. The down-side to apple bags is the time spent placing a bag around each apple, then removing it later in the year. Apple bags, which can be found on the Internet, are specially designed to protect apples, but not damage them.

· Another product not included in the trial, but which is reportedly successful, is Spinosad. Sold under different trade names, this organic product is derived from the fermentation of a naturally-occurring organism. It has proven successful in some research applications. As with all products, be sure to read and follow all label instructions carefully when applying.

· Contact your local county Extension office for the specific timing of coddling moth control in your area.

Posted on 26 May 2006

Jerry Goodspeed
County Director, Horticulture Agent, Weber County

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