Codling moth mating disruption: Thoughts, sources, ideas?

milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)May 15, 2012

I know there is a post somewhere here regarding the benefits of mating disruption. I think scottfsmith had mentioned that it was working for him better than any kind of bagging. I can't find it when I search, so I'm throwing this out again.

I will actually have a harvest this year, but I think I may be too late to prevent CM damage.

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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Mile High Girl, I have posted various random bits about my experiences with disruption. It takes a few years for it to really kick in because if the population is too high it won't work. I have gotten it to work in my yard which is less than an acre. It may be hard if you have only a few trees, but I have heard of good results from a few people in such cases. The "official" line is you need 1-5 acres (depending on who is talking). I use disruption in combination with codling moth granulosis, a virus that affects only codling moths. The virus helped me lower the population until the disruption kicked in. This spring I didn't do quite as well as previous because I got both disruption lures and granulosis sprays going a bit too late; still I did pretty well, about 95%+ of fruits were CM-free and I could thin out all the damage.

Sources are a big problem, there is a state by state distribution system for most of the disruption products so you may need to go to your local farm chemical supply store. Check with Great Lakes IPM, they sell to quite a few states in the middle of the country. It may also be hard to find in smaller quantities. I buy a bag and freeze and then have a supply for several years.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 9:07PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)


Thank you for the insight and resource. I did order a dual trap from them, but they really did not want to sell me any mating disruption products because I only have a .2 acre yard. I understand better now that it would not do me any good if all my neighbors have crab and apple trees that are unsprayed and untended.

So, back to bagging I guess. My only question now is cotton drawstring, ziplock, or tule.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 1:05AM
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This is just an idea, but we've gone quite deep with a sawdust mulch beneath our apples, adding 3-4 inches each year. It's deep enough so that I can hoe up the top two inches with a stirrup hoe to disrupt whatever is going on down there, leaving a dry, chunky surface for unwanted creatures to negotiate.

I think lots of small things add up to adequate codling moth management, like getting out there and picking up every fallen fruit, clipping off early victims, and encouraging lots of insect diversity with flowers.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 7:30AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Rhonda, that indeed is very small. I did hear about someone having good results with such a small patch but there is a fundamental reason why small patches are hard to protect: even if moths are following the wrong trails, if the area is small enough they are likely to bump into each other anyway. There is a similar problem if the population is big enough even in a large area. In your case with the neighboring trees it makes it extra difficult. Unless you could get them to agree to let you hang disruption in their trees as well.

Planatus, disturbing the soil below the trees in the winter is a good strategy, if the overwintering moths are exposed they will desiccate. My impression is this works well for some species, e.g. cherry fruit fly, which tends to overwinter right under the tree, but my impression of CM is it overwinters in a broader collection of spots including in bark crevices on the tree and further away. I don't think having lots of flowers helps a lot. CM is a crafty fellow, there is a reason why people resort to extremes such as mating disruption to control them.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 8:27AM
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We tried mating disruption here a couple of years ago but couldn't get enough people on board, even though the county extension agent was promoting the idea and providing the scented twist ties at cost. There are wormy apple trees up and down every street and alley in town, it seems.

I'll probably use Spinosad this year, hoping that I eliminated my own population last year by using Once and Done.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 9:13AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Mark, I expect the reason why it didn't work was also related to the density -- some trees were already so infested that disruption would not help. If you wiped your orchard back last year you may be able to have better luck this year. I do fine with spinosad plus disruption.

BTW for spinosad you need to be very careful on spraying at the proper timing. I would recommend getting a codling moth trap. When you trap your first moth add about two weeks as the expected egg hatch time and plan on having a constant spinosad coverage in that rough period. Another way to time it is to be very carefully monitoring the fruits and when you see the very first CM damage fire up the program. Since the CM hatch is spread out over a week or two, by going at the first sign you are going to nail most of the hatch. You need the spinosad on the surface of the fruit when the egg hatches, the little guy needs to get infected before he is safe inside the apple. Once all the worms are in the apples there is much less reason to spray. What you do next is remove any infected fruits when you find them, and wait for the next generation hatch and again constant spinosad coverage for several weeks after. Spinosad lasts up to 7 days, so during the hatch windows you need to be spraying it several times, and conversely if its not a hatch window there is little need to spray it.

One other thing, codling moth granulosis virus is better than spinosad if you can find it. It targets CM only and spinosad gets some beneficials. I bought a 10-year supply of it that is in my freezer.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 8:23AM
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In theory, the CM egg hatching period is here now, but I haven't seen a single moth in my traps.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 9:05AM
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