Oriental Fruit Moth - pulling my hair out

Can someone please tell me, in a single basic sentence, a spray that I can use to prevent OFM damaging my peach tree? My tree is so ugly now, and I don’t think I can ever fix it with pruning.

Any source I look up regarding this subject matter quickly gets complicated. I end up reading a bunch of stuff and walk away with nothing.

Why is this so complicated??

Please do not suggest pheromone traps, whatever the heck that is. It sounds like a DIY for those with too much time on their hands. I’ll leave that to the farmers. I’m not trying to be the Einstein of home grown fruits. I just need one spray and then move on with my life.

I’m in GA and I wonder how this state ever came to be known as the peach state, with all the diseases and bugs we have here.

Just went out tonight at 4AM and this is what I caught in the act:


I feel your pain, I went through the same frustration about a year ago when my peaches were getting destroyed by plum curculio AND brown rot AND squirrels. Unfortunately, peaches are just a very high maintenance fruit to grow. You’re going to need a minimum of 3 sprays to get decent quality fruit.

Its complicated because 1) spray timing is highly dependent on climate and weather 2) there’s a ton of organic growing advice for home growers but very little pesticide advice, probably because: 3) you need to be very careful not to kill off beneficial insects like bees, etc. 4) Going the non-organic route, there are many different chemicals that can be sprayed, each with their pros and cons

To get you started, I spray for brown rot at shuck fall using Chlorothalonil. I also begin spray for OFM & plum curculio at shuck split/fall using Esfenvalerate or Malathion + Myclobutanil + Serenade + Nu film every 2 weeks until 1-2 month before harvest. As you can see, you’re not going to be able to solve all your problems with one spray.

I’m in GA and I wonder how this state ever came to be known as the peach state

You should download this and read the “HOME PEACH, PLUM, AND NECTARINE” section:

GAPMH Home Orchard.pdf (357.2 KB)

This is pretty good too: Home Garden Peaches | UGA Cooperative Extension


You need to spray at petal fall. If you miss this first spray, it can be hard to stop future generations weeks later.



You may be aware, but OFM has 3 full sets of legs toward it’s front and some (what I’ll call) “proto” legs at the back. I can’t tell if your insect is legless or not. If it’s legless it’s PC. If it has little legs at the front, then it’s OFM.

Obviously your peach has OFM if it is been damage as evidenced by flagged shoots.

If you want to control OFM with the simplest means possible, I’ll try to offer the simplest solution I can think of for you. I can tell you are frustrated trying to sort everything out. You don’t want to spend a ton of time researching. I sense you are saying, “Just give me the name of a product which will work.”

There are many products which would fit this requirement. Some “work” (i.e. kill) OFM better than others.

Probably the easiest available for you (given you have one peach tree) is the new formula of Sevin. It’s called Garden Tech Sevin Insect Killer Concentrate. It’s the Sevin with the active ingredient Zeta Cypermethrin. It’s not the Sevin with the active ingredient carbaryl.

It comes in several different sizes (pint, quart, gallon). I would recommend at least a quart, as one quart of concentrate will only make 8 gallons of spray. A gallon of that concentrate will make 32 gallons of spray.

Mix that in your pump up sprayer. Make sure you’ve not used your pump up sprayer for herbicides. If you have used herbicides in your pump up sprayer, wash your sprayer out thoroughly with soap and water. Then place a 10% solution of household ammonia and water in the sprayer. Shake that solution up and spray a little of the ammonia solution through the nozzle. Then let that sit overnight. Then wash out the ammonia solution thoroughly with clean water. Then you can use your sprayer for insecticide for you peach tree. Spray your peach tree thoroughly up to the point of run-off.

That product should work for you on OFM. However, another component of insect control, is how often to spray. The label of the aforementioned product allows a weekly application (starting at petal fall) with a 14 day pre-harvest interval for peaches.

If you want to be certain to get a peach crop unaffected by OFM, you could spray weekly, as the label allows, stopping 2 weeks prior to harvest. Generally not that many sprays are required.

OFM egg laying comes in waves (generations) with a new wave about once a month. Perfect timing requires traps and degree day models. Some people get by with very few sprays. Others have much higher pest pressure and require more sprays.

There are many homeowner spray guides on this forum in the Guides section and also on the internet, if you want to try to spray less than once per week with your Sevin.


In the spirit of “know your enemy,” here is fairly comprehensive information on oriental fruit moth:


They cover the ecology of OFM, efficacy of insecticide treatments, and issues with timing. It sounds like there are no easy answers. I sprayed BT and spinosad last year and still got pretty afflicted. This year I am trying something new. I switched to more of a permaculture approach and welcomed the insect-eating birds into my orchard (bird bath, bird houses with bluebird-sized holes, lots of flower diversity to support insects year round that the birds can eat). My wife is happy because the yard looks better with all the flowers. So far the birds have been eating a lot of insects off the trees, and I notice the lizards are active too. Now that they have bushy ground-cover to retreat to, they hang out on the trunks of the trees and eat insects. That is exactly what we want with OFM early in the year.

We will see how this goes. I definitely don’t want to have to spray every year (too much work) and like you, I definitely don’t want to figure out the timing based on traps. If permaculture works to allow me to keep 50% of my fruit then I will just grow twice as much and call it a win.


Can someone tell me the reason why more than one spray is needed? I’m trying to understand the reasoning instead of just mimic what I see others doing.

@dimitri_7a The document you linked to shows this:

Is this telling me I need to spray carbaryl + esfenvalerate + malathion + permethrin?

Pick one.


One minimal effort spray program I’ve seen on here is to spray using Triazicide + Immunox mixed together at their highest recommended rate. Do your first spray shortly after petal fall and then repeat once or twice in 14 day intervals (a few days sooner if there is a lot of rain).


I think I understand now:
We use one insecticide paired with one or two fungicides.
If any of this is incorrect, please correct me.

Thanks guys! I feel better now.

You may mix certain pesticides and fungicides in a tank together. But not all the pesticides and all the fungicides can be mixed and sprayed in one tank due to possible chemical reactions. There are a lot of discussions in this forum for which specific pesticide and specific fungicides can or can’t mixed in one tank

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Generally speaking, it’s just one insecticide paired with one fungicide for backyard orchards.

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Just an honest follow-up to this: Permaculture has not worked at all! I am going to keep at it. But I definitely am trying the traps this year. They seem easy. You just open them and hang in tree. That’s it. And my traps are full of grey moths that seem like they are consistent with OFM, though I am no expert. Hopefully the traps help lower the population early in the season. Not sure how many to hang though.


Planting a peach variety that ripens early may increase your % of good clean fruit collected too.

I have 3 trees… 2 ripen June 15… the other July 8 or so.

I do not spray.

I do get some good clean peaches off my earlier ripening trees… especially those earliest to ripen from my earlier trees. Normally those peaches on the sunny side of the tree.

Early Elberta mid June last year.

By the end of ripening period for my Early trees the BR and OFM had kicked in and results were disappointing… and when later tree started ripening fruit… almost all were taken by OFM and BR. Had to toss 200 or more peaches…

I am going to try an even earlier ripening variety next time… Rich May (flavorrich)… which should ripen a couple weeks earlier than my Early trees now do. I am hoping that I may get even more clean no spray peaches that way.

Less hang on the tree time… Less time for insect and disease problems to develop.

I do not spray… so this is my one hope for a few more good peaches.

OFM pheromone traps only capture the males. You might actually draw in more males than you otherwise would. Even if a few males breed with the females, the females can lay on the upwards of 200 eggs on fruit and shoots.

Most uses of OFM traps are for monitoring purposes to allow the orchardist to know when to better time sprays. Maybe there are people using OFM traps alone, with great success, but I can’t logically understand how they would be helpful.

Scott has used mating disruption, along with other low impact methods, to control OFM. That may be something to consider.

I thought the traps were to help identify when was the proper time to use to pheromone mating disruption devices.

From what I can read I think you guys are right. The traps I bought didn’t market them that way.

I see a lot of healthy predator bugs on my trees. I actually see more predator bugs than pests. I hate to spray anything that would harm them. Any suggestions?

The traps can be used to check to make sure mating disruption is working. The idea is that if the traps say empty, the mating disruption is probably working.

Mostly though, IPM growers use traps to get a biofix for degree day models, so they can better time their sprays.

I am not a stone-fruit grower, but I play one on the Internet.

I generalize my study of codling moth on apples to oriental fruit moth on peaches. My understanding is that mating disruption is effective only over broad areas such as large commercial-orchard operations because, in smaller city-lot-sized plantings, bred females can invade regardless of the use of pheromones attractive to males, and I cite:

Pheromone-treated orchards must be carefully monitored for peach twig borer, oriental fruit moth, and other pests that can move in from neighboring stone fruit and almond orchards (UCANR).

However, the count of males captured in pheromone traps is valuable in timing chemical controls.

Put pheromone traps in the orchard by February 15 (San Joaquin Valley) or February 20 (Sacramento Valley) to detect when moths emerge for the first flight (see PHEROMONE TRAPS). Once the first moth is trapped, accumulate degree-days (DD) to estimate when the onset of the second flight will occur. Use a lower threshold of 45°F and an upper threshold of 90°F. The second flight should begin about 920 to 1,010 DD from the beginning of the initial flight; in some areas, however, the second flight may be seen as early as 800 DD.

If a spray of methoxyfenozide (Intrepid) or chlorantraniliprole (Altacor) is planned, treat at 400 DD from the first trapped moth*; otherwise, apply treatments from 500 to 600 DD. Treat at 400 to 500 DD for the third or fourth flight as fruit ripens (UCANR).

Intrepid and Altacor are ovicides.

*If I read that right (above), they are not referring to the first-flight biofix but to the first second-flight moth trapped.

If you are lucky enough to have a backyard weather station and use the Linux operating system on your personal computer, then you can install WeeWX to monitor backyard temperatures, and you can apply my Phenology WeeWX extension to track growing degree days. Here are the parameters for oriental fruit moth:

  [[Grapholita molesta]]
    name_common = "Oriental Fruit Moth"

#     Rice, R. E., C. V. Weakley, and R. A. Jones.  1984. Using degree-days
#     to determine optimum spray timing for the oriental fruit moth
#     (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae).  J. Econ. Entomol.  77: 698-700.

#     Location of study:  Parlier and Yuba City, California (field studies)

      ref = "http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PHENOLOGY/ma-oriental_fruit_moth.html"

      threshold = 7.2, degree_C
      cutoff = 32.2, degree_C
      method = gdd_single_sine_horizontal_cutoff
#     biofix = First male moth trapped
      biofix_is_required = True
      biofix = ~~~~~, degree_C_day

#       Host  Peaches
#       Biofix First male moth trapped
#       "Pre-egglaying adults + Eggs" = 111.1, degree_C_day
#       "Larvae" = 215.0, degree_C_day
#       "Pupae" = 210.0, degree_C_day
        "Generation time (adult to adult)" = 536.1, degree_C_day

If I understand your comment, the way traps work is that the first moth captured establishes the biofix. Maybe we are saying the same thing?

I agree with you that all the publications I’ve read say it’s only effective for larger orchards. But @scottfsmith has indicated he has used it on his orchard, along with other low impact methods to control the pest.

That’s the only reason I mentioned his results in my previous post.

Yes, I do use mating disruption. It is hard to say exactly how much it is helping but I don’t do all that many sprays and I only use spinosad and end up with mostly clean fruits. One thing I do is cover my whole yard which is about an acre. So that gives plenty of dead-ends for the males. The general issue here is nobody is doing a careful study of how it performs in small orchards because no commercial growers have small orchards and no researcher gives a rat’s a** about home growers.

The main problem for home growers is sourcing them, it is annoying that they are much less dangerous than all the poisons but are much harder to get due to stupid regulations.

Re: traps, I recall someone claiming that they used the milk jug traps (gallon milk jug with a hole in side and molasses or similar plus water in the trap) and got pretty good control for codling moth. It seems like there should be a way to make a dent with trapping. But, I agree that those pheromone wing traps are intended for monitoring only.

I used to use monitoring traps but now I just use petal fall as my guide. For later generations I have watched the tip strikes on peaches for enough years to know when to expect the next wave.

For me the big insect battle is always with curculio, the Surround coats need to be excellent and up for a very long time to keep them under control.