Oriental fruit moth

Oriental fruit moth

Grapholita molesta (Busck)

Lepidoptera: Tortricidae

The adult is a small moth with dark gray mottled wings that lighten somewhat at the outer edges (A). The larva is dirty white to pinkish with a reddish brown head and an anal comb (B).

  • Damage

    Attacks all deciduous fruits, particularly peach and apple. On peach, larvae feed first on new terminal growth, tunnelling toward the base of the shoot, causing the terminal to wilt and die back (called "shoot flagging") (C); this damage may be confused with that caused by periodical cicada oviposition, which also can cause terminal wilt. Later broods attack and tunnel in the developing fruit, causing conspicuous entrance or exit holes covered with frass (D), while the larva excavates cavities near the pit. On apple, terminal feeding is similar to peach but less obvious; feeding damage in the fruit (E) is random and often marked by frass near the calyx.


    This insect historically has been the major internal worm pest in commercial peaches, and is becoming a more serious pest in apples as well. Monitor adults with pheromone traps and use a degree-day developmental model to time insecticide sprays. Summer applications of insecticides, such as those used in apples against codling moth, can provide control of this insect. Success has been achieved using mating disruption alone (especially in area-wide programs) or, under heavy population pressure, in combination with insecticide sprays.

    Crops Affected

    • Apples
    • Cherries
    • Peaches
    • Pears
    • Plums

Similar Species

  • Cherry fruitworm


    The adult is a small, brownish gray moth with a median gray band on the forewings and a dark spot at the base of the hind wings. Although whitish gray with a black head when young, the larva eventually becomes pink tinted, with a brownish tan head.

    Adult is a small, brownish-gray moth with a median gray band on the forewings and a dark spot at the
  • Codling moth


    The adult's forewings are striped with fine brown-gray lines and a distinctive bronze to brown-black oval spot at the tip. Eggs are laid on the leaves or fruit.

    Adult’s forewings are striped with fine, brown-gray lines and a distinctive bronze to brown-black ov
  • Lesser appleworm


    The adult is a small gray moth with distinct small orange bands or patches on the wings; some blue is also evident in newly emerged specimens.

    Adult is a small, gray moth with distinct small, orange bands or patches on the wings.
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