WSU Extension


Caption: Codling moth feeding inside apple core
Photo by: J.F. Brunner
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Ornamental Pear : Codling moth
(revision date: 3/22/2021)

The brownish-gray wings of adult codling moths are marked with dark bands and a dark brown spot near the tip. Wingspan is up to 3/4" across. Adult females lay eggs on leaves or fruit. The larvae burrow into fruits, usually through the blossom end, where they eat the core and seeds. The fruit appears dirty brown or rotted in the center when cut open. Mature caterpillars are pinkish-white with brown heads and about 3/4" long. The mature larvae tunnel out of the fruit and make cocoons under bark or in the ground beneath the tree. They overwinter in the cocoons and pupate in the spring. Adults typically emerge around May-June. There can be two generations per year. Codling moth is a serious problem in commercial apple and pear orchards. Because ornamental pear can serve as an alternate host for codling moth, homeowners in fruit-growing areas are encouraged to manage this pest to help control regional codling moth infestations. Control may be required by law in some regions--contact your local extension office if you have questions.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Attach corrugated cardboard or burlap around trunk to attract migrating larvae about to pupate. Periodically remove and destroy cocoons underneath.
  • Remove loose bark to remove hiding places for cocoons.
  • Some naturally-occurring parasites may help control codling moth populations. Avoid use of broad-spectrum insecticides which may kill beneficial insects.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Apply about 10 days after full petal fall or 17-21 days after full bloom (follow label instructions for kaolin clay products). Homeowners should not make foliar applications to trees over 10 ft tall. Consult a commercial pesticide applicator for treatment of trees and shrubs over 10 ft. tall.

Listed below are examples of pesticides that are legal in Washington. Always read and follow all label directions.
  • Surround At Home Crop Protectant
    Active ingredient: kaolin clay  |  EPA reg no: 61842-18-56872
  • This list may not include all products registered for this use.
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Caption: Codling moth feeding inside apple core
Photo by: J.F. Brunner
Caption: Adult codling moth on crabapple leaf
Photo by: M. Bush