Codling Moth

Cydia pomonella

Synonym - Carpocapsa pomonella

Family: - Tortricidae

Order: - Lepidoptera



Colour - Blue grey with zigzag lines

Body - 7-8 mm long.

Wings - Wingspan 14-20 mm. Fore wings blue grey with fine brown zigzag lines and a large brown spot with 2 gold bands. Hind wings red brown with a copper sheen and grey hairs on the edges.

Mouthparts - Sucking.

Antennae - Curved and folded back.

Legs - 6

Head -

Thorax -

Abdomen -

Egg - White grey, flattened, elongated, 1.5 by 1 mm.

Habits - Flies at dusk when warm.

Caterpillar - 18-20 mm long when fully grown.

Colour - Red yellow to white pink with a brown head, pronotum and tail segment.

Body - Each segment has small lumps with fine short hairs.

Mouthparts -

Antennae -

Legs -

Head - Brown

Thorax -

Abdomen - Last segment brown.

Habits - Burrows into fruits leaving a brown sting on the surface.

Pupa - Light brown in a white mesh cocoon that is 15-18 mm long.


Life Cycle:

Moths emerging in spring and remain inactive for many hours and usually fly on the following day. In summer they are immediately active. At dusk they fly if the temperature is above 150C and search for nectar, honey dew, dew drops and similar food. They live for 2-5 weeks and die if temperatures are less than 150C for a week or more. The optimum conditions are 230C and relative humidity above 40%. At low humidity they flutter continuously and soon and damage their wings. Mating occurs in flight. The pre oviposition period lasts 1-15 days. Each female lays about 60 eggs on leaves mainly and occasionally on buds, fruit and branches. The eggs are white grey initially and develop a red ring which turns into a black dot as the head of the embryo. Just before hatching the curled embryo may be seen. Incubation takes 4-7 days. The new larvae becomes active about 10 minutes after hatching and starts to nibble on the leaf close to the midrib forming a gallery in the leaf. After a few days they search for fruit but may complete their life cycle on the leaf when no fruit s available. They can wander for several hours covering over 15 m in search of fruit without feeding. Larvae on small fruit bore into the seeds and then search for a more mature fruit after 9-10 days. Larvae on lager fruits complete their development in a single fruit. Larval entry points or sting often have protruding faecal pellets and turn dark brown. At maturity the larvae drop on a silk thread and seek a hiding place to spin their cocoon. They prefer cracks and crevices in the bark and only rarely pupate in the fruit or on the ground. Larval development takes 18-30 days in summer and 2-3 generations per year are produced. The last generation has a long diapause over winter and takes 250 days. Larval survival is 35-50%. Cocoon spinning takes 4-5 days and pupal development takes 10-18 days. Pupa survival is 35-85%. The first generation takes 50 days, the second 40 days and the third 250-300 days to complete their life cycle and requires 625 degree days with a threshold of 100C. In the lab 38% the first generation, 24% of the second and 22% of the third typically survive.


Origin and History:


World wide wherever pome fruits are grown.

Different strains occur in different areas.


Attack pome fruits (Apple, Pear, Quince), Walnuts and Japanese Plum spoiling the fruit.

Management and Control:

Traps baited with 10% molasses in water and a pinch of yeast are used to detect the presence of moths. Burlap bands around tree trunks can be used to determine the presence of larvae preparing to pupate.

Some varieties of pome fruits are more sensitive to attack than others.

Control is usually based on programmed sprays of insecticides based on moth numbers. In WA, Codling Moth is eradicated when it is found and suspected infestations should be reported to Agriculture WA for prompt action.

Related Species:

Codling Moth (Cydia pomonella) Tortricidae

Leafroller or Tortrix Caterpillar Tortricidae species

Lucerne Leafroller (Merophyas divulsana) Tortricidae

Similar Species:


CSIRO. The Insects of Australia. Melbourne University Press. (1991)

WADA. Insects and Allied Pests of Extensive Farming. Department of Agriculture - Western Australia Bulletin No. 4185.

Avidov, Z. and Harpaz, I. (1969) Plant Pest of Israel. Israel University Press. P384-388.


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