Coddling Moth

Walked the apple orchard yesterday and found that the coddling moth larvae have been having quite a time in my apple trees. I hadn’t thinned them at all so it wasn’t a complete disaster but having not dealt with these to this extent in my young orchard was quite an eye opener. Unfortunately they hit my Honeycrisp the hardest in terms of % of fruit destroyed. I probably picked about 500+ apples off from 48 trees. I will have to come up with a specific spray program for them as they can have several generations in one summer.

Looking for advice on how to proceed. I’m thinking that a wing trap to track mating and then spray Surround? I have Carbryl but I have hesitated to use it so far since it kills beneficials as well and it wouldn’t even affect those that have already entered the apple.

My experience here in W. Montana is that spinosad can do the job if the timing is perfect- I’ve been lucky following the local extension office’s recommendations. We get three or four generations/year.

I’ve also found that Triazicide Once & Done works very well, but I don’t consider it reliable because of reports here and the label changes. Evidently it has to be fresh and cannot have been allowed to get too warm. Or maybe it’s just not a good product any more.

I don’t use Surround but my understanding is that it requires numerous applications, and of course it needs to be on before the bugs are active.

I am in my first year needing spray with 2 bearing apple trees (+8 yet to bare), 2 plums, and a peach. I use Scott’s low impact spray advice. Search “low impact spray schedule”, and have been trapping for codling moth to get a “biofix” to know when to apply spinosad.

Your 48 trees sounds like a commercial-scale endeavor. Are you selling fruit? If so you could probably use Imidan (phosmet). As discussed in several other threads here, if you are selling fruit your options are much wider than if you are a backyard grower like me.

If you are looking for something that is a reduced risk pesticide like spinosad, then spinetoram might be a good choice (product name: Delegate WG by Dow). It is a slightly chemically modified spinosyn that was specifically designed to be more resistant to UV degradation so it has a longer residual on the tree. I personally have been itching to get some, however the smallest quantity sold is the 26 ounce ~$300 package.

:+1: on Mark’s comment about spinosad with good timing. I don’t always have the greatest timing, but even with my hit and miss I get reasonably clear fruit. Along with spinosad there is codling moth granulosis which is now available in small homeowner packages. I use both together when I remember to (this spring I forgot to thaw the granulosis, but I now have some and will put it in the next spray (generation 2 coming here). Surround is a help but not nearly as useful as spinosad/granulosis.

@marknmt, when is your 2nd generation? I probably should put out a trap to get a better fix on mine, its coming up soon.

PS here is a WSU chart I got from

Mark, you may have similar timing to Washington. I would guess I am 2-3 weeks ahead, so start of July for hitting the 2nd generation.

Hi Scott. I have a trap and sprayed for first generation about a week ago. It’s been pretty cool and things have slowed down some, so I don’t expect the second generation for about another week, but I may sneak in a “safety spray” sooner, given spinosad’s low residual effect.

We’re in an altogether different climate than Washington, which is on the other side of the mountains and quite a bit lower than we. But our local country extension agent does do a good job (for my circumstances at least) on the timing.

Where do you get the granulosis? I googled it and found quite a bit of information but at $50.00 for an ounce and a half I may not bite!

Mark, according to all the charts like the one above there is more than a month between flight peaks, in fact its more like two months peak to peak. The first generation is often quite spread out so you may be seeing that.

I bought whats basically a lifetime supply from Great Lakes IPM, for $80 if I recall (Virosoft brand). Those small Cyd-X containers are expensive, I forgot how expensive they are. Basically its $5 per backpack load on the small bottles. The commercial size Cyd-X costs 1/4th the price per ounce.

Here codling moth produces two generations per year. OFM, which occasionally affects apples, produces new crop every month.

I’ve found the second generation of CM hits about the middle of July here. If I can keep the apples clean till then, they are “home free” after that.

Codling moth is really my only apple problem (after fireblight blooming season is over).

I’ve been spraying with horticultural oil for the initial hatch and then spinosad every 9-10 days based on the two hatches and HDD models. It’s hard to stay consistent from June to Sept though and once you miss a hatch, all the previous work was for naught. In a good year, I get about 80% decent apples without worms; in a less consistent year, 50%.

I was thinking of spinetoram but it’s really expensive and I’m not sure how far 26 ounches will go…

My next thought was staying with spinosad but adding Bt and Cyd-x (also expensive). The table at the bottom of this webpage is pretty good, but I’m trying to figure out how to keep it cheap, easy, and still get good results.

Any suggestions?

Where can you buy Spinetoram (Gemvelva)?

Search “Delegate WG insecticide”

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Thank you. And you’re right -it is pricey!

How are you detecting the initial hatch?

Do you have pics of what the damage looks like?

My Utah extension program sends out integrated pest management emails during the growing season with their recommendations based on the “Degree Day Model” for different parts of the state (see that section in the link above). Examples:

I can also confirm at a weather station near me using this website or the “Utah TRAPS” app for your phone: Utah TRAPs

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See the website link I originally posted for pictures.

I’m trying to do some “apples to apples” (ha!) comparisons of regular spinosad to spinetoram…spinetoram is cheaper per gallon of treatment but it’s designed for large acreages…I wonder what the shelf life is?

Spinosad - 1 gal is $132 delivered to me…that’s 128 ounces at 0.5% spinosad concentrate. There are 128 ounces per gallon and 256 tablespoons in a gallon, so 2 tablespoons per ounce. You mix 4 tablespoons per gallon, so one mixed gallon is 2 ounces, or about 64 gallons of mixed product. I use about 3 gallons per treatment on my small orchard → about $2/gal.

Spinetoram Delegate WG - 26 oz is $265 delivered to me at 25% concentrate. The instructions are listed as ounces per acre, but there is a notation under bananas that is equivalent to 2 ounces per 100 gallons for apples…which would indicate the bottle will treat 1300 gallons or 20 cents/gal. That is obviously a lot cheaper per treatment but that would take me decades to use.

I see that Utah State U. advocates a trap-less alternative method to determine biofix for codling moth control. They use a second-order formula that fits latitude and elevation to Biofix (in terms of Degree Days from 1 Mar) in Utah.

They claim an accuracy within about five days of actual hatch for first and second flights.

In turn they reference:

  • Jones, V. P., M. Doerr, and J. F. Brunner. "Is Biofix Necessary for Predicting Codling Moth (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) Emergence in Washington State Apple Orchards?" Journal of Economic Entomology 101.5 (2008): 1651—57. 27 Mar 2024 <>.

… which uses Baskerville/Emin’s trigonometric growing Degree-Day calculation.

I use a pheromone trap in my backyard and determine the time of biofix from trap counts of male codling moths. The main disadvantage is, of course, cost, and several things can go wrong.

The point that Jones, et al., and USU are making is that my method of setting biofix isn’t any more accurate, but I think they are looking at how commercial orchards set biofix. I’m raising apples as a hobby, and I can afford to fiddle around a little in hope of achieving better accuracy in good years. I’ve had improved luck, controlling codling moth, in the last couple of seasons.

Using reported growing Degree Days (GDD) for a mountain valley (and matching to an elevation formula) seems iffy to me. Here on the shore of a large inland lake, wind direction plays a pivotal role in GDD accumulation. I would think the same would be true in the Rocky’s, so measuring temperature in the orchard rather than relying on reports from miles away could only be an improvement.

I hadn’t considered pheromone traps in my backyard orchard because I read they are more effective on 10 acres or more (“required” in some text). Where do you buy the traps?

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If you use a backyard trap, it will draw males from neighboring properties. That’s OK. Females in your backyard will draw males from neighboring properties, too, but their larvae won’t move around much.

They say you need to set several traps. They are thinking about commercial operations. If you set only one trap, it’s true you have nothing else to compare your trap counts to, but I think you can still take a better stab at setting biofix from one trap (and predicting hatch with hyper-local GDD measurements) than you can by relying on state Extension Agents’ surveys, but that’s just me.

I used to hang the traps to catch the males but have done better following the recommendations of our local county extension agent, herself an apple grower.

But I also use Spectracide Once & Done as well as Spinosad. Spinosad has a little reach back but not much staying power, while Spectracide has no reach back (as far as I know) but great staying power. So it gives me a much bigger window to work with. Has worked lately.