Codling Moth

Cydia pomonella, The Codling Moth

The codling moth Cydia pomonella is an economically important pest of many pome fruits including Apple, Pears, Crab Apple, Quince, Hawthorn, Apricot, Plum, Peach and Cherry.

It is distributed across the Europe, Asia, United States, Mexico and Mediterranean countries. The larvae penetrate the fruit skin and bore through the core end feed up to the seed cavity. If an infestation of Cydia pomonella is left untreated then there is a risk of 95% crop loss.

Technical Data Sheet


Adult moths have a wingspan of 16 to 19 mm. There are very obvious and characteristic brown oval markings on the wing, surrounded by two golden brown lines, tending towards the bronze, on the grey fore wings. Hind wings are a reddish brown and are delicately ciliated.

Adult females lay between 30 and 70 eggs. These are flat and oval in shape, and translucent to white in colour. Just before hatching the dark head of the larvae is visible. Eggs will hatch after 6-10 days.

Larvae are 1-2cm long and pink with a brown head in colour. They develop through 3-5 instars over a period of approximately 5 weeks.

The pupal stage lasts 7-30 days depending on environmental conditions such as temperature. Pupae are brown and around 1.5cm in length. Pupation occurs in protected sites. 



Russell IPM manufacture and supply pheromone lures, traps and complete monitoring systems for Codling moth, Cydia pomonella. Regular monitoring through use of pheromone traps gives early warning of the infestation and also exhibits the density of the insect population to inform successful IPM strategies.

Recent Literature

Liu, W. et al. The optimal sex pheromone release rate for trapping the codling moth Cydia pomonella (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) in the field. Sci. Rep. 6, 21081; doi: 10.1038/srep21081 (2016).

This study looked at the optimal pheromone release rate for trapping codling moth. Mating disruption is widely applied for codling moth control. Large sex pheromone release rates might cause the competitive attraction and sensory overload, leading to mating disruption. The sex pheromone release rates that effectively disrupt mating should not have any male catches. In our study, the maximum sex pheromone release rate used was 1797.9 μg wk−1, and its corresponding catches were 2.0 ± 0.4 adults/trap (15 traps) in a week; this release rate still failed to reach the minimum sex pheromone release rate for mating disruption. A previous study used a maximum sex pheromone release rate of 7546 μg wk−1 and captured fewer than 0.1 adults/trap. To date, the minimum sex pheromone release rate for mating disruption remain unknown. Currently, the general release rate of codlemone for mating disruption is 0.6–41.6 μg h−1 (100.8–6988.8 μg wk−1), and this release rate was achieved using large numbers of dispensers, approximately 1000–2000 dispensers/ha.

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Walker, W. B., III et al. The chemosensory receptors of codling moth Cydia pomonella - expression in larvae and adults. Sci. Rep. 6, 23518; doi: 10.1038/srep23518 (2016).

This study looks at the C. pomonella chemoreceptor proteins (CR) repertoire. This study presents a solid foundation for future research on chemical signals mediating codling moth behaviour, such as those employing pheromone control methods, as well as a better understanding of its chemosensory system. This know-how will further augment the efficacy of control based on behaviour-modifying odorants, and thus help to reduce the use of environmentally harmful chemicals in fruit orchards. As an example, the study identifies pear ester as the ligand for CpomOR3, which is a pheromone receptor subfamily clade OR4. Pear ester is indeed a powerful, bisexual adult and larval attractant. It will be exciting and rewarding to study other highly expressed CRs, especially those showing distinct sexual bias. Ligands for these receptors are good candidates for further development of sustainable codling moth control.

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