Curbing moth’s apple appetite
Codlin moth emerges from cocoons in the soil underneath host trees in early spring and summer, when there are young apples on the trees and the weather conditions are favourable (15 degrees plus).
After mating, females lay their eggs (up to 300 while active) individually on leaves near the young fruit. The eggs hatch in 10 to 14 days and the grub heads to the apple and eats its way in. While going through its life stages, the grub damages the inside of the apple to emerge at maturity and drop to the ground or find a crevice in the trunk to pupate and winter over. Codlin moth also like pears and walnuts to feed on during their larval stages.
Here’s how to minimise the damage these pests cause. In July (now) sprinkle Neem Tree Granules at 50 to 100 grams per square metre. around the base of the tree out to the drip line. The idea is to create a odour barrier so that when the moths emerge they cannot smell the tree above. While on the surface they are easy prey for birds. There is also the possibility that neem granules under the tree will deter or control insect pests in the canopy. From late August, put pheromone traps in the tree. A cheap alternative is to use treacle, which mimics the female pheronome, in a lid inside a housing of some sort. Renew the treacle to keep things sticky. When male moths are found in the traps it means they are on the wing, so spray the apples with a mixture of Wallys Super Neem Tree Oil and Raingard. Don’t spray the whole tree, just the fruit. Neem is an anti feedent and makes the fruit unappetising. Spray every 10 -14 days until the male moths no longer appear in the trap.
In early spring, remove flaky bark at the base of the tree to reduce overwintering sites and expose those larvae to birds. Later during spring, put sticky paper around the tree to catch any moths crawling up the trunk.
In November wrap corrugated cardboard around the tree to catch any grubs crawling down. The grubs crawl inside the corrugations to incubate In December, January and February renew the cardboard and burn the old. If the codlin moth grub is successful in boring a small hole into the apple, it’s too late. It eats its way to the centre and grow, depositing their waste and when big enough, eat their way out. They then either crawl down the trunk, where they may pupate in the bark, or drop to the soil by a silky thread.
Chooks around the tree will eat the cocoons in winter (June to September).
As well as neem granules, marigolds and smelly herbs around trees can also confuse the moths that are trying to find the scent of the apple tree and can make it difficult for the female to lay eggs near the fruit.
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It won’t be long before apple trees break into blossom. Codlin moth are also waiting for spring to come, so now’s the time to put a nontoxic anti-moth apple preserving strategy into place.