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Codling moth

Cydia pomonella

Author: Esther McGinnis


  • Codling moth larvae are the proverbial “worm in the apple”.
  • The larvae tunnel through the apple to the core to eat the seeds.
  • After they mature, the larvae tunnel out of the fruit to drop to the ground to spin a cocoon.
  • Brown frass (insect poop) may line the tunnel.
  • Adult male moths are grayish-brown with copper-colored tips.
  • Larvae transition from white to pink and may reach ½” in length.

Figure 1. Coddling moth Nelson
Figure 1.
  Tunnel entrances are often lined with insect frass (Eugene E. Nelson,

Figure 2. Coddling moth Cranshaw
Figure 2.
  Insect tunnels are large and the damage renders the apple inedible (Whitney Cranshaw,

Management and other important facts

  • Management may be unnecessary, because the moth may not be present in all areas.
  • Pheromone traps may be hung in May to detect the presence of male moths.
  • If male codling moths are detected, insecticides can be applied after flower petal fall.
  • Insecticides that contain the active ingredients, malathion or pyrethrin, can be applied as long as the insecticides are labeled for apple trees.
  • Do not use insecticides containing carbaryl because this may cause fruit abortion if applied within 30 days after bloom.




This website was supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grant 14-SCBGP-ND-0038.
Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.

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