- Author: Ed Perry
If you decide to fight them, now is a good time to plan your strategy since the most critical time to protect your fruit from the pest is spring. Warm spring weather causes most of the first generation moths to emerge within a few weeks. The moths may take 6 weeks or more to emerge during a cool spring. Once they have emerged, the codling moths are still affected by temperature. They do not lay eggs or mate when it's below 62°F at sunset or fly when it's 55°F.
The moths emerge from pupae in early spring about the time when fruit trees are in full bloom. Each moth lays 50 to 75 eggs on fruit, twigs, or leaves. Eggs hatch into larvae which tunnel into the young fruit. Inside the fruit, the larvae feed for several weeks, then tunnel to the fruit's surface and search for protected sites such as under tree bark, in branch wounds, weeds, grass or other litter. The larvae changes first to a pupa, then to an adult and repeats the cycle.
You can also trap many larvae under bands. Take a 6-inch wide strip or burlap or corrugated cardboard, wrap it around the trunk several times, then fasten it in place with a loop of wire or twine. If you use corrugated cardboard, the exposed flutes (ridges) must be at least 3/16 of an inch wide and face toward the tree; otherwise, the larvae won't form cocoons in them. Place a band on each tree no later than mind-May. During warm weather remove the band once a week, and during cool weather once every two weeks. Destroy all the larvae and pupae under the band, and then put the band back on the tree. Keep doing this until you've harvested all the fruit.
Insecticidal sprays are usually the most effective means of controlling codling moths. Sprays give best control when you apply them just after a large number of larvae hatch, but before they burrow into the fruit. These times are several days after a period of peak moth flight and vary according to the year and location.
When using any chemical, carefully follow dilution rates and other directions given on the container label. Do not spray within the number of days before harvest indicated on the label. You can read more details about the life cycle of this pest and management, including chemical controls in the UC IPM Pest Notes: Codling Moth.
Ed Perry is the emeritus Environmental Horticultural Advisor for University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) in Stanislaus County where he worked for over 30 years.
[From UC IPM's Pests in the Urban Landscape Blog]
At some point, all of us encounter a pest in our home, garden, or landscape. But you're not alone! UC IPM publishes Pest Notes – a series of more than 150 papers reviewed by experts in the field – to provide science-based information about pests and their management.
These ten Pest Notes were the most frequently viewed online in 2019, with more than 330,000 total pageviews. While it's not a contest, we like to think these are the winners of 2019's most popular pests.
These small, soft-bodied insects can multiply rapidly, especially in warm weather. Many species exist in California, feeding on vegetables,flowers, fruit trees, and woody ornamentals. Their sticky honeydew encourages growth of sooty mold, while their feeding can distort growth or transmit viruses from plant to plant. Managing ants and supporting natural enemies are two ways you can reduce aphid damage. Learn more about aphids and their manaent in the Pest Notes: Aphids.
Thrips are tiny, slender insects about the size and shape of a dash printed in a newspaper. Some are beneficial predators that feed on other insects and mites. But most feed on plants, sucking out the cell contents, leaving a discolored speckling on leaves or stunting plant growth. An integrated approach is recommended for management, incorporating good cultural practices, natural enemies, and least-toxic insecticides if needed. For more about thrips monitoring and management, visit our Pest Notes: Thrips.
Peach leaf curl can affect the blossoms, fruit, leaves, and shoots of peach and nectarine trees. The symptoms of the disease first appear in spring, when distorted red foliage emerges. However, focus management for nonresistant varieties in the late fall and early winter, after leaves drop. Read more about this disease in our Pest Notes: Peach Leaf Curl.
Scales are small, legless insects that look like tiny scabs on the stems, leaves, or fruit of plants. While some scale species can weaken a plant when abundant, other species do not appear to damage plants at all. Think you have a problem with these insects? Visit our Pest Notes: Scales for identification and management options.
5. Fungus Gnats
This pest was surprising to find in this year's top 10. Fungus gnats are small flies that often infest soil and potting mixing, emerging from indoor houseplants and becoming a nuisance. The larvae, or immatures, can damage roots and stunt plant growth when present in large numbers. If you do see these flies flitting about, sticky traps may be effective in reducing the problem. However, the presence of gnats and decline of house plants are more commonly due to too much or too little water and improper soil conditions. More information on these frustrating flies can be found in our Pest Notes: Fungus Gnats.
If you've found soft, oval insects that are white in color with wax filaments on your plants, it is likely you have mealybugs. These wingless insects are often found in clustered colonies on indoor and outdoor plants. In yards and gardens, handpicking, pruning, or high-pressure water sprays can reduce populations. For small infestations indoors, spot treatments may help reduce populations. For houseplants with severe infestations, consider disposing of the plant. Find additional information in Pest Notes: Mealybugs.
In residential areas, this not so mysterious marsupial will take up residence under porches, decks, garden sheds, attics, and basements. Opossums are nocturnal omnivores, foraging for fruits, nuts, plants, insects, snails, and even small mammals such as mice. In addition to being a nuisance in residential areas, they carry various diseases that can be transmitted to humans including tuberculosis, spotted fever, and typhus. The best control for opossums is to screen or block access to areas where they may den. You may also choose to hire a professional wildlife control operator to trap and dispense of any opossum visitors. Pest Notes: Opossum has more on the biology and management of these animals.
8. Carpet Beetles
Carpet beetle adults are typically brought into the home on cut flowers or when they fly in through open doors, windows, or holes in screens. The immature beetles feed on animal products such as wool, silk, leather, fur, and hair. Regular cleaning of rugs, upholstered furniture and closets as well as eliminating accumulations of lint, hair, and other debris is an important preventive measure. Check out the Pest Notes: Carpet Beetles for more preventive and management methods of these pests.
9. Ground Squirrels
Ground squirrels are troublesome rodents found throughout most of California. Their network of burrows can be extensive, damaging trees, lawns, and structures. Ground squirrels can also damage many food-bearing and ornamental plants in yards and gardens. For legal management methods, see our Pest Notes: Ground Squirrels.
Whiteflies are not actual flies but are tiny insects that are often found on the underside of leaves, feeding on the phloem of many different plants. Certain species can cause significant loss in vegetable gardens; other species found in fruit trees are less damaging. In home gardens, reflective mulch can repel whiteflies and yellow sticky traps can reduce numbers of high infestations. Additional management information can be found in Pest Notes: Whiteflies./span>