It’s time to set pheromone traps.
Apples, quince and pears are all likely to be blooming and about to set fruit – which means codling moths will be emerging from their overwintering hidey-holes under the ground and on the wing looking to lay their eggs! So set pheromone traps now and start counting the dead male moths you catch. When you have caught about a dozen, it’s time to spray your trees with neem oil or a product to control caterpillars such as Yates Success Ultra Insect Control (if your trees are small enough you can also shake Yates Tomato Dust over the whole tree). The only time in its life cycle when the codling moth is vulnerable is after the larvae has hatched but before it has had a chance to burrow into your fruit – when it pupates (goes from larvae to moth) it’s hidden under the ground or in a crevice in the bark, and very soon after it hatches, the new larvae will burrow into your developing fruit and ruin your crop! It’s a common mistake to think that the pheromone traps are themselves a control, but they are not (unless you rely on catching all the male moths in your vicinity, so you have just virginal – and therefore harmless – female moths left, but I wouldn’t recommend that!). Using pheromone trap just lets you time the application of a spray to give you the best chance of success. If you have chooks, let them roam around under your trees over spring too – they make short work of moths as they emerge from the ground. You can also help prevent the newly emerged moths taking to the skies (and soon starting a family) by scattering neem granules around the base of any trees likely to be affected (which includes all pip fruit and walnuts) every few weeks from the start of spring until November or December.
Set your traps.