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12 Dec 2012

Coddling traps

Apple tree owners: the coddling moths are around. Take action now!
Category: General
Posted by: christina

Coddling moth is a bugger of a thing. Small browny grey moths lay eggs on the leaves of your apple, pear or quince trees in spring. The eggs hatch to tiny caterpillars that eventually munch their way into the small developing fruit.

To complete their life cycle, the caterpillars then come out of the fruit and head down the tree looking for a place to spin a cocoon. This is when you can trap them with some sort of banding around the trunk of the tree.

Of course, this is too late to prevent damage to the fruit that have already been munched. But at least you can break the life cycle and reduce the load of pests in your backyard orchard. You need to take off and inspect the banding every week or so. You might find adult moths there as well. Another control mechanism is to trap the adult moths using a pheremone lure which you can buy from nurseries.

Even with good controls in place its hard to keep your crop of fruit perfectly untouched. Chickens allowed to forage around the base of the trees is very helpful to keeping the moths under control. And lots of flowering plants like cosmos, coriander, alyssium etc around the place will provide nectar for little wasps that are natural predators of the coddling moth.

But, if you get a few blemished fruit, you can just cut out the messy bit and enjoy the rest! Its been "pre-tasted" for you, that's all!

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