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False Codling Moth
False codling moth adult
False codling moth adult
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Tortricidae
Scientific name: Thaumatotibia leucotreta
Common name: False codling moth (FCM)



Identification
 
Adults: The adults are small brownish gray and have a wingspan of about 5/8 inch (16 mm).
Larvae: Young caterpillars are yellowish-white with dark spots. Larvae can grow to be 1/2 inch (13 mm) in length and are bright red or pink with a yellow-brown head.
Pupae: pupae are hidden inside silken cocoons in the soil or leaf litter
Eggs: pin-head sized flattened-oval shaped eggs, usually laid singly
Damage: The larval (caterpillar) stage is the stage that causes the damage. The larvae bore into fruit and seeds.

Impacts: False codling moth would cause severe damage to crops such as peach, cherry, and plum. Increased usage of pesticides to control it would negatively affect the environment.

Host plants: The preferred host plants are corn, citrus, cotton, oak, peach, guava, and pepper. They also feed on cherry, plum, grape flowering maple, and more.

Distribution:
The false codling moth is native to Africa and is occasionally found in Europe. Moths in this genus have been intercepted in US ports more than 2,000 times since 1984. In July 2008 a single FCM was trapped in southern California.

Biology and Life Cycle:
The adults are small brownish gray and have a wingspan of about 5/8 inch (16 mm). FCM fly only at night. During the day the moths rest on the shaded areas of the host plant. Females lay eggs on fruit, leaves, or fallen fruit. When the larvae hatch they wander around before burrowing into the fruit on the host plant. Mature larvae drop to the ground and enter a prepupal stage which can last for 2 to 27 days. After developing into pupae the moths will emerge 11 to 47 days later. In South Africa there are as many as 5 generations per year. In Oregon there would likely be fewer generations per year, but the number is unknown.
 
What ODA is doing: ODA placed approximately 100 FCM traps across the state. Placing traps allows ODA to detect any infestations when they are small and when they are more easily eliminated.

Links:
Invasive species.org page on FCM
New pest response guidelines for FCM (pdf)
FCM images
 
Photo credit: Pest and Diseases Image Library, Australia