Codling Moth Information

Codling Moth Information

By Jennifer Olvera, Garden Guides Contributor
moth larvae

About Codling Moth

Codling moths are a problematic insect pest with mottled grey, tent-like, copper-banded wings. They grow to be between 1/2 in. and ¾ in. and over-winter as full-grown larvae beneath loose bark, in soil or in debris at the base of apple, pear and English walnut trees.

Prevention and Control

Selecting early maturing apples and pears and late-leafing walnuts significantly reduces the risk of codling moth infestation.

Affected Plants

Apple, pear and walnut trees.


Codling moths tunnel into the core of fruits, leaving holes and frass, a brownish dropping; they can infest as much as 90 percent of the fruit if left to their own devices. The larvae also feed on the kernels of nuts; early in the season, infected nuts will drop off of trees, while late season infestation renders nuts inedible, although at this stage they remain on trees (damage averages 10 to 15 percent).

Predator Insects

Birds are predators of developing codling moths. Also, parasites sometimes attack eggs and larvae of developing codling moths.

Natural Insecticides

Non-chemical sanitation, mass trapping, trunk banding and fruit bagging are among the ways to naturally stave off codling moths.

Other Methods of Control

A handful of insecticides available to home gardeners can help manage codling moths, including spinosad, carbaryl and summer oil as well as low toxicity substances like Bacillus thuringiensis, cryolite, pyrethrum, ryania, insecticidal soap and pyrethrin-rotenone combinations.

About this Author