Codling Moth, Cydia pomonella

The codling moth Cydia pomonella is an economically important pest of many pome fruits including Apple, Pears, Crab Apple, Quince, Hawthorn, Apricot, Plum, Peach and Cherry.

It is distributed across the Europe, Asia, United States, Mexico and Mediterranean countries. The larvae penetrate the fruit skin and bore through the core end feed up to the seed cavity. If an infestation of Cydia pomonella is left untreated then there is a risk of 95% crop loss.

Cydia pomonella, The Codling Moth

Adult moths have a wingspan of 16 to 19 mm. There are very obvious and characteristic brown oval markings on the wing, surrounded by two golden brown lines, tending towards the bronze, on the grey fore wings. Hind wings are a reddish brown and are delicately ciliated.

Adult females lay between 30 and 70 eggs. These are flat and oval in shape, and translucent to white in colour. Just before hatching the dark head of the larvae is visible. Eggs will hatch after 6-10 days.

Larvae are 1-2cm long and pink with a brown head in colour. They develop through 3-5 instars over a period of approximately 5 weeks.

The pupal stage lasts 7-30 days depending on environmental conditions such as temperature. Pupae are brown and around 1.5cm in length. Pupation occurs in protected sites. 

Nature of Damage
  • Damage is caused by the larvae tunnelling into the fruit to feed on the seeds.
  • Brown frass collects outside the entry hole of the tunnelling larvae.
  • Early fruit which is attacked by this pest will drop prematurely.

Pheromone for Codling Moth, Cydia pomonella

Russell IPM manufacture and supply pheromone lures, traps and complete monitoring systems for Codling moth, Cydia pomonella. Regular monitoring through use of pheromone traps gives early warning of the infestation and also exhibits the density of the insect population to inform successful IPM strategies.


Russell IPM manufacture and supply pheromone lures, traps and complete monitoring systems for Codling moth, Cydia pomonella. Regular monitoring through use of pheromone traps gives early warning of the infestation and also exhibits the density of the insect population to inform successful IPM strategies.

Lures can be changed every 4-6 weeks to get the most accurate results.
Lures Handling
Pheromone lures are a very sensitive tool. They can be affected by exposure to high heat and direct sunlight. Direct contact with the hand may cause cross contamination leading to mixed catches in the trap. Some pollutants such as nicotine may have repellent effect of reducing trap catch.
Lures Storage

Store the pheromone in a cool, dry place. Service life may vary from 3-36 months depending on the storage temperature. See data sheet for details
Trap Selection

The Delta trap or MothCatcher are the most sensitive trap to use for monitoring this insect. The MothCatcher is more suitable dusty conditions or in locations with a high moth population density. Do not re-use the trap to monitor different insects as this may lead to mixed catches.

Trap Density

Place traps in a grid pattern within the orchard at a rate of 1 trap every 5 ha for small scale orchards and 10 traps every 2-4 hectares for larger holdings.

Trap Position

Place each trap within the tree canopy at approximately 2.5 m high, ensuring that the trap entraces are not blocked by foliage or developing fruit.

Data and Interpretation

Collect data weekly from the start of the flight of the over wintering generation. During the height of the population more frequent reading may be needed. Decisions on pesticide application should not be taken solely on the trap catch data. 
Climatic and biological considerations should be taken in account.

Liu, W. et al. The optimal sex pheromone release rate for trapping the codling moth Cydia pomonella (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) in the field. Sci. Rep. 6, 21081; doi: 10.1038/srep21081 (2016).

This study looked at the optimal pheromone release rate for trapping codling moth. Mating disruption is widely applied for codling moth control. Large sex pheromone release rates might cause the competitive attraction and sensory overload, leading to mating disruption. The sex pheromone release rates that effectively disrupt mating should not have any male catches. In our study, the maximum sex pheromone release rate used was 1797.9 μg wk−1, and its corresponding catches were 2.0 ± 0.4 adults/trap (15 traps) in a week; this release rate still failed to reach the minimum sex pheromone release rate for mating disruption. A previous study used a maximum sex pheromone release rate of 7546 μg wk−1 and captured fewer than 0.1 adults/trap. To date, the minimum sex pheromone release rate for mating disruption remain unknown. Currently, the general release rate of codlemone for mating disruption is 0.6–41.6 μg h−1 (100.8–6988.8 μg wk−1), and this release rate was achieved using large numbers of dispensers, approximately 1000–2000 dispensers/ha.

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Walker, W. B., III et al. The chemosensory receptors of codling moth Cydia pomonella – expression in larvae and adults. Sci. Rep. 6, 23518; doi: 10.1038/srep23518 (2016).

This study looks at the C. pomonella chemoreceptor proteins (CR) repertoire. This study presents a solid foundation for future research on chemical signals mediating codling moth behaviour, such as those employing pheromone control methods, as well as a better understanding of its chemosensory system. This know-how will further augment the efficacy of control based on behaviour-modifying odorants, and thus help to reduce the use of environmentally harmful chemicals in fruit orchards. As an example, the study identifies pear ester as the ligand for CpomOR3, which is a pheromone receptor subfamily clade OR4. Pear ester is indeed a powerful, bisexual adult and larval attractant. It will be exciting and rewarding to study other highly expressed CRs, especially those showing distinct sexual bias. Ligands for these receptors are good candidates for further development of sustainable codling moth control.

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