GAR­DEN­ING WITH DEBBI

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - Front Page - WITH DEBBI GIB­SON, HORTICULTURALIST

IF you grow ap­ples, pears or quince, then you may be fa­mil­iar with codling moth.

The fruit of­ten has small brown holes on it with brown frass, a fancy word for cater­pil­lar poo, com­ing out of it.

Some­times though, the pres­ence of cater­pil­lar lar­vae is not ob­vi­ous un­til bit­ing or cut­ting onto the fruit. Yuck.

They are a prob­lem world­wide, es­pe­cially in the fruit grow­ing in­dus­try, where year round vig­i­lance and in­te­grated con­trol meth­ods are used.

Un­der­stand­ing the life cy­cle of the codling moth is cru­cial to re­duce the in­fes­ta­tions.

The adult fe­male codling moth lays eggs on the sur­face of leaves or fruit dur­ing spring and early sum­mer.

They hatch around 14 days later and bur­row into the fruit, feed­ing as they go.

Af­ter about three to five weeks feed­ing in­side the fruit, they are large enough to emerge and find a place to pu­pate in co­coons.

They pu­pate for around 18 to 30 days when they emerge as fully grown adult moths. And the cy­cle starts again. Three gen­er­a­tions of codling moth can oc­cur dur­ing the grow­ing sea­son, with the last ly­ing dor­mant dur­ing the win­ter, ready to emerge next spring to start the cy­cle all over again.

Con­trol­ling codling moth starts now.

De­stroy hi­ber­nat­ing codling moth co­coons by re­mov­ing loose or flak­ing bark, bro­ken branches and leaf lit­ter from the branches, forks and bases of ap­ple and pear trees.

Other win­ter hid­ing places can be in crevices in the ground or un­der mulch.

Pick up and de­stroy old fruits on the ground which may har­bour over-win­ter­ing lar­vae.

Wrap­ping a wide band of cor­ru­gated card­board around the trunk of the tree, gives cater­pil­lars a per­fect place to pu­pate and traps hatch­ing lar­vae.

The bands can be used all year round but must be re­moved and burned ev­ery three weeks to break the breed­ing cy­cle.

A new prod­uct called Suc­cess Ul­tra con­trols the lar­vae of the codling moth.

The en­tire tree needs to be sprayed ev­ery 7–14 days start­ing in early spring.

Fi­nally, birds and chooks are nat­u­ral preda­tors so let them help in the fight.

Happy gar­den­ing.

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