Codling Moth Eggs

- Tiny eggs laid on fruit or branches -

Summary: Codling moths lay eggs on fruit, or nearby branches, of apples, pears and walnuts. Hatching larvae bore into the fruit, or nuts, where they develop. Eggs can be killed with carefully timed, low toxicity insecticides as long as the sprays are applied before eggs hatch.

Jack DeAngelis, PhD
OSU Ext. Entomologist (ret.)

What do codling moth eggs look like?

Codling moth larvae are the worms of "wormy apples" but they also infest pears and walnuts. Larvae hatch from eggs that are laid on branches, leaves and fruit (see photo right). Eggs are tiny, flat specks that are very difficult to see. When first laid the eggs are clear but become milky white just before hatching into tiny larvae.

Hatched larvae immediately bore into the fruit. See What are Codling Moths? for life history and control information for these important home orchard pests.

picture of codling moth eggs on apple
codling moth eggs (arrow) on an apple

How can wormy apples be used?

Despite their best efforts most home orchard growers end up with some infested fruit at the end of the season. There is no need to discard this fruit. Many people use "wormy", infested apples to make apple cider or applesauce. Small, hand-operated apple presses are popular among home orchardists for making their own cider. Avoid apples that have been on the ground too long but moderately infested fruit can be pressed without removing the damaged parts.

Many people also make use of infested fruit by simply cutting out the infested areas with a paring knife. If the internal feeding damage is not too extensive this method is perfectly acceptable. Fruit can then be eaten fresh, dried or used to make applesauce.

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