Codling Moths

I've begun to harvest some apples and almost literally EVERY apple has been affected by codling moth.  Last year was not nearly as bad - we still had a really good crop of apples which were unaffected.  Not so this year.  

I've been reading about pheromone traps and spraying (my tree is quite a mature and large tree), and the RHS website mentions using the pheromone traps to count the number of male wasps caught and then timing the spraying accordingly. This sounds very complicated.  But if you've also been battling with codling moths, what have you been doing and how would you recommend tackling this problem so it doesn't happen (as badly) next year?

I also wonder if it's been a bad year because of my pruning the tree (?).  We inherited the tree when we moved in last year, and before then, it had never been pruned, fertilised, etc.  Since then, I've done two summer prunings, 1 winter pruning, and fertilised the tree.  I've noticed that the fruit is not as plentiful but much bigger than this year, but alas, spoiled by those codling moths.


  • BerghillBerghill Posts: 2,831

    Bad year for them, every one of our Katy apples is affected. All you can do is follow the RHS advice. The apples are still edible, you just have to cut out the wormed bit.

  • Green MagpieGreen Magpie Posts: 677

    This is no help to you,  but it's the same here. Even one tree that is normally pest-free is riddled with the things. Many of our damaged apples are rotting on the tree or being attacked by wasps or dropping off before they're ripe. If we tackle them with a knife, we might get half of each apple if we're lucky, but we can't store them for more than a few days as they soon rot. Most of our crop will end up on the compost heap.

  • I do go to some trouble to minimise the codling moth problem...using a winter tar oil wash & grease bands. I also use a pheromone trap as part of a spraying plan......there is a common misconception that the latter prevents the problem, but this isn't so.

  • Thanks for your responses - really helps to know that it's not an isolated problem!  Sorry to hear about your trees, Berghill and Green Magpie.  I feel your pain!  

    David K - when you use the pheromone trap with the spraying, is it when you begin to catch 'more' male codling moths, it's time to spray?  And what is the winter tar oil wash regime?  I used grease bands, but no luck (and I suppose, they don't really help with the codling moths which affect the fruit).


  • Poppy - we need to understand the life cycle of the codling moth to explain the measures I mentioned.

    Full instructions come with those pheromone traps...but basically the sticky pads are marked into squares to help assess the number of moths in the infestation, enabling us to be able to calculate to amount & frequency of spray required.

    Winter tar oil wash is applied when the trees are totally dormant and is intended to destroy the eggs and larvae of the moth hiding in the bark.

    Grease bands are intended to prevent females, which, after emerging from the pupal or chrysalis stage in the soil, climbing the tree to mate and lay their eggs.



  • Birdy13Birdy13 Posts: 539

    I could say ditto to all the examples quoted above - last year's Bramley crop was stonking, this year's more like stinking image

    I wasn't sure at first whether it was my pheromone traps had actually attracted more moths than previous year, or whether it was the warm winter and early spring/ summer weather had brought out the moths before my traps were put up.

    Both of those possibilities also occurred to me regarding my Victoria plums: 9 out of 10 of the fruits which ripened earliest had plum moth maggot - so again I suspected the pheromone traps, plus my relative ignorance of how to use them really effectively, may have been conspiring against me.

    The later fruits, however, seemed less affected. ( I realise I'm on the wrong thread to develop a discussion of plums!)

    Any ideas anyone on those two hypotheses?

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