Codling moth: declared pest

Page last updated: Monday, 10 October 2016 - 8:13am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Codling moth (Cydia pomonella) is a serious pest of apples and other pome fruit and has the potential to cause severe crop losses. This pest is not known to occur in Western Australia. Early detection and reporting of suspected cases will help protect Western Australian pome fruit industries.

What plants are affected?

Codling moth is the most damaging pest of commercial apple, pear, quince and nashi orchards in Australia. Apple varieties harvested late in the season where fruit are exposed for longer periods, including Pink Lady™ and Sundowner™, are particularly susceptible.

What do I look for?

Adult codling moths have a 12–19mm wingspan and a body length of around 9mm. Wings are a mottled grey with a dark, iridescent coppery-brown band at the tip. The wings are held tent-like over their bodies at rest. The moths are active for only a few hours at dusk, from October to April.

Codling moth larvae have a worm-like appearance and are white to light pink with a dark brown head. At maturity the larvae measure 15–19mm. They are among only a few larvae likely to be found inside pome fruit.

Larvae penetrate the fruit and tunnel towards the core where they feed on seeds. Tunnels are filled with reddish-brown, crumbling frass (larval excreta) which can be seen exuding from the entry hole.

The fruit pulp around these tunnels is often broken down by bacteria. The mature larvae tunnel through the pulp again to reach the exterior and leave the fruit. This internal injury can lead to premature ripening and fruit drop.

What damage can this pest cause?

Codling moth larvae are internal feeders of fruit, and can damage almost an entire crop if not controlled. Larvae damage the fruit by:

  • feeding minimally on the outside of fruit creating small stings on the fruit surface
  • tunnelling into fruit and feeding on the pulp and seeds causing extensive internal injury
  • interior breakdown of tissue in the fruit often leading to premature drop.

What do I do if I find it?

Cydia pomonella (Linnaeus 1758) is a prohibited organism for Western Australia. It is important that suspect infestations are reported. Early detection and reporting of this pest will help protect Western Australian pome fruit industries. Please contact the Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS) to report this pest.

Contact information

Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS)
+61 (0)8 9368 3080