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False Codling Moth

Thaumatotibia leucotreta

False Codling Moth, Citrus Codling Moth

An inconspicuous small moth which is a pest of citrus and stone fruits. A significant pest as the full life cycle takes anything from five weeks to three months, which is weather dependent. There can be up to six overlapping generations within one year, with no winter diapause.
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Heavy infestations can result in significant yield loss of citrus and stonefruits.


Adult moths are the inconspicuous nocturnal moth and seldom noticed in orchards. Colouration is a variable mottled grey with a visible plume of grey scales on the dorsal surface of the body. Males have anal tufts which are absent in females. Pupae are dark brown and 10mm long, found in silken cocoons formed from soil particles and debris. Pupation usually occurs in the top layer of soils. Larvae are 1mm in length and creamy white with dark brown to black heads. Mature larvae are pink in colour and become 15mm in length. Eggs are in the shape of inverted saucers. Initially, they are translucent but darken to red to black before hatching. Only 1mm in diameter.


Larvae enter the fruit from the stem end. They begin to feed around the fruits core. The entry hole will begin to darken as the moth larvae feeds. Brown spots will be visible on the surfaces of the fruit. Larvae may be found upon opening up the suspected infested fruit.











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Biological treatment

Removal of fallen fruit is crucial to prevent further infestations of FCM. Fruits can be covered to prevent them from being stung by FCM. Pheromone-based trapping is also used to control populations of the FCM. These traps contain the pheromone of females to attract males and kill them. These traps are also used to investigate the activity of the FCM in specific fruit-producing areas. The parasitic wasp, Trichogrammatoidea cryptophleebiae, is known as the most effective suppression of the false codling moth (FCM), being an effective egg parasitoid. There are also effective larval parasitoids, including the wasp Agathis bishopi.

Chemical treatment

A range of registered chemicals can be used to control populations of the FCM.


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