Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center

Apple IPM Transition Project

Identifying Codling Moth in Early Season Traps

 

Early Season Trap Monitoring

While monitoring for codling moth at the beginning of the field season care must be used when identifying the moths you catch in your traps. During this part of the season there is another moth that closely resembles codling moth. This moth is referred to as the "Sage moth", but its real name is Grapholita imitativa. This moth is native to the western US, but there is little information on host plants. It probably shares some pheromone components with the codling moth and is active around the same time as codling moth first flight and is often captured in pheromone traps set out to monitor codling moth. Misidentification of this moth as codling moth can cause erroneous conclusions about early season codling moth risk in an orchard resulting in too early application of your control measures.

Adult Codling Moth Identification

Sage moth vs. Codling moth

The figure to the left shows two adult moths stuck inside a monitoring trap. The moth on the left is the Codling moth. It is slightly larger than the Grapholita imitativa moth to the right. Codling moth has a broad reddish-brown colored region at the bottom of the wings.

Adult Sage moth

Take a look at the close-up of Grapholita imitativa moth to the left. Although the base color is similar to that of the codling moth, there is a dark region in the middle of the wings bisected by two white or pale lines. In addition, the Grapholita imitativa moth does not have the colored region at the tip of the wings that codling moth has.

 

Additional Visual Reference:

Guide to codling moth damage identification

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