Study on home codling moth control

I know many of you have your own data on pest control, but I thought I’d share this study by the Utah State Extension service. It is a controlled study looking at the effectiveness of home orchard products for codling moth control.

The Effectiveness of New Homeowner Products and Techniques for Controlling Codling Moth Larvae in Backyard Grown Apples

The 2 sprays (with Sevin) providing good CM control backs up what I gather @alan 's strategy is using imidan. I thought carbaryl had a short residual… not sure how that compares to imidan.

It is also interesting that the mating disruption chemical seemed to attract CM to the trees, which seems to mirror what I’ve seen elsewhere on those products being effective only in cases of larger orchards.

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Sevin does have a few days shorter staying power than Imidan. I don’t use Imidan anymore, btw and have substituted it with either a pyrethroid or Avaunt (which the label only allows for agricultural use). The label makes it tough for me to justify Imidan’s use around people’s homes (“Not for residential use”).

Scott has perfected the use of mating disruption in a home orchard, apparently. They may not have used enough of the product in their experiments. Maybe Scott will update us on this.

Very interesting Levers. I’ve not ever seen any research like that. Almost all research is geared toward commercial growers which require pristine fruit.

It would be great to see more research like this done in other locations. I think Utah has lower pest pressure than my locale. Here, the amount of undamaged apples w/o pest control is zero, but the study showed they harvested 30% w/o any pest control.

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I should mention that my 2 insecticide spray sched doesn’t control CM or OFM because I’m done by the first week of June which is about when these moths arrive here.

I spray the tips of peach trees by hand to control OFM, using very little material but I don’t grow varieties terribly susceptible to CM.

This is in my nursery-orchard, at many orchards I manage OFM and CM are not important pests at all. They seem to be attracted to larger stands of fruit trees more than isolated orchards growing in frequently mowed turf. I’m talking about scores of sites I manage.

I’m considering purchasing some Avaunt, what is the definition of “agricultural use”? My fruit trees are on a 4 acre lot would that qualify for agricultural use?

Excellent study, well done, practical, and useful.

FWIW, my own limited experience with codling moth over the last 18 years with one tree in one location is that you have a "free’ season or two before the cm discover and colonize your tree, but after that you will have them until you can bring them thoroughly under control.

in 2015 I was lucky with the timing and got complete control with spinosad sprayed when my pheromone traps told me it was time. I had three generations last year, some years I have four.

In 2014 I used a little Spectracide in the first spray, with later sprays being just spinosad, and again, excellent control.

If I have a bad year in 2016 I’ll resort to the Spectracide again, but my hunch is that the over-wintering population is substantially reduced and migratory bugs will be the biggest source.

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Yeah, I’m sure that Utah with its dry climate is a different beast that for us humid climate folks. I agree it would be nice too see a couple studies like this in the SE, NE, and Midwest.

I am sort of guessing here that the general population in Utah might be more interested in these recommendations, and that the Utah extension probably fields a few more questions like this study than in big corn and soy states like IA. The LDS Church and its members often appear to have a stronger thrust towards self-reliance, which is totally understandable given their often rocky relations with other groups in the US.


According to the EPA, the test of “Ag Use” is whether or not the owner intended to make a profit from the sale of the food. Here is an excerpt:

"Questions and Answers on pesticides labeled for use on commercially grown tree fruits (LC06-0004):

Can pesticides that are labeled only for use on commercially grown tree fruit (such as apples) and are not Federal Restricted Use Products (RUPs) be applied by homeowners to control pests in backyard (noncommercial) apple orchards?

A homeowner could legally apply the pesticides if they intended to
make a profit from the fruit. Since the word “commercial” is commonly
defined as engaged in commerce or intending to make a profit, the home
owner would only have to show he or she intended to make a profit from
the fruit in order to be within the bounds of the uses allowed on the
label. Use in a noncommercial orchard would be inconsistent with the
product’s labeling and a violation of FIFRA."

They are also encouraged to store a years worth of food (not such a bad idea). I had a Mormon roommate in college. Fine people, even if they are a bit overzealous on their proselytizing.

Woops. Sorry about that… I suppose I conflated something somewhere…

Thanks Olpea for answering the question, Avaunt is one of the newer reduced risk insecticides but maybe due to the concentration, they do not want the general public to have access to it. I used Imidan last year but am about to bite the bullet and spend the $ to avoid using it whenever possible in my backyard orchard. Considering Delegate and Actara as well.

My guess is that it’s the concentrate the EPA is worried about. Most of the folks on this forum are pretty responsible when it comes to chemicals, but the EPA are probably worried about the average Joe who wants something to spray a couple fruit trees and has little knowledge of how to read a label, and not willing to put much effort into it.

The Signal words would probably go right past a lot of consumers without giving much thought. It could have a Danger signal word and they wouldn’t really know what that means on a relative basis (after all aren’t all pesticides dangerous?) They probably wouldn’t own a respirator (sometimes required for mixing many of the concentrates) or any other protective gear. They might be unknowing how to store the chemicals to keep them away from children. Things like that.

I know a guy who told me he had a jug of pesticide that he wanted to get rid of so he dumped it along the building next door, which happened to be a small grocery store. He said it smelled really strong. The grocery store owner ended up calling the fire department. The odor was so strong the fire department evacuated the building. The guy who dumped the chemical didn’t even know what it was.

The reason I don’t use Imidan is because I apply to other peoples orchards, not because I feel it represents a big risk for myself. It is a PIA to use in small batches though.

I might be reluctant to use it if I had small children but if you have some maybe you should think about using it up (in the next 10 years) or selling it to someone on the forum.

Imidan seems to offer a lot of bang for the insecticide buck doing a good job controlling many types of insects at a low cost. In spraying my backyard orchard, my concern is the labeled REI of 4 days for applicators and 14 days for the general public. These numbers may be excessively conservative by the EPA but seem to make Imidan a poor or not viable insecticide option for backyard growers with children or pets. When I mentioned the REI to my wife, she said no mas to Imidan.

Well once you brought it up with your wife that was bound to be the result. I think she’s probably right on this one although the REI is created to protect sweaty workers from picking up the insecticide when they rub against sprayed plants, I think. However you can also pick it up on your feet when walking on dew soaked grass under your trees.

They have done studies of workers in plants that make the stuff and they do fine health wise compared to the general public. It is only children that I worry about with it when used intelligently.