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Codling moth is the cause of what is often referred to as "maggoty apples". The caterpillars of this insect can damage a high proportion of the fruits on apple trees in gardens. It can also affect pear fruits and occasionally it is found in walnut and quince fruits.
An apple with codling moth larvae damage Credit: RHS/Entomology.
Codling moth is a small moth whose caterpillars bore into the fruits of apple and pear trees during mid- to late-summer.
It is not worthwhile controlling codling moth on quince or walnut as the level of infestation in these fruits is rarely significant.
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Adult codling moths emerge in late May-June and lay eggs on or near developing fruits from June to mid-July. The adults are small, up to 22mm wingspan, with blackish-brown and grey speckled wings with a bronzy patch near the outer edge.
After hatching, the small white, brown-headed caterpillar bores into a fruit and feeds in the core region for about four weeks until fully grown.
The insect leaves the fruit to overwinter as non-feeding caterpillars in leaf litter or under loose flakes of bark and they pupate in the following spring.
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