The False Codling Moth: A Challenge to the Citrus Industry

The False Codling Moth, scientifically known as Thaumatotibia leucotreta, is a type of Lepidopteran insect that belongs to the Tortricidae family. This particular moth species poses a significant threat to the citrus industry, causing various difficulties for citrus growers.

Activity Patterns

False Codling Moths are primarily inactive during the daytime but become active during specific periods of the night. This nocturnal behavior influences their interaction with their environment.

Also Known As:
This moth species is also commonly referred to as the Citrus Codling Moth or Orange Moth, reflecting its association with citrus fruits.

Host Range

The False Codling Moth exhibits a wide host range, affecting both citrus and non-citrus crops. Citrus hosts, such as oranges and lemons, are highly susceptible to infestation. Additionally, non-citrus hosts, including guava, plums, beans, and peaches, are also at risk.

Life Cycle

The life cycle of the False Codling Moth consists of several distinct stages. The female moth typically lays its eggs between 5:00 PM and 11:00 PM. These eggs are usually deposited on the surface of the host fruit, but they can also be found on leaves, fallen fruit, or smooth surfaces. The time required for egg incubation varies depending on the temperature, ranging from 2 to 22 days. Once hatched, the larvae feed on the fruit and survive for 12 to 65 days, influenced by weather conditions.

After reaching maturity, they leave the fruit by descending to the ground using silken threads. The pupal stage is regulated by both temperature and gender, with warmer conditions accelerating emergence. Males reach maturity within 13 to 48 days, while females take 11 to 40 days. Under favorable conditions, a single female moth can lay up to 800 eggs, contributing to rapid population growth. The lifespan of males ranges from 14 to 58 days, while females live for approximately 16 to 80 days. The False Codling Moth can have 2 to 10 generations in a single year.

Identification

To identify the presence of the False Codling Moth, one should observe its various life stages:

1. Eggs: The eggs are small, approximately 1mm in size, flat, oval, and translucent white. As they develop, they acquire a reddish color.

2. Larvae: The larvae measure between 1 and 20 mm in length. Initially, they have creamy white bodies with brownish-black heads, featuring minute black spots and hair-like structures. As they mature, their overall color becomes light pink with orange-yellow sides, top, and legs. The heads also change to a light maroon hue.

3. Pupae: Pupae are cylindrical, approximately 7mm in length, and initially have a cream color. As they harden, they turn yellow to dark brown. The pupal cocoons may contain fragments of leaves or soil.

4. Adults: The adult False Codling Moths are grayish-brown to dark brown or black in color, measuring around 6-9 mm in length and 2.5 mm in width. Their forewings have a black triangular patch, while the hind wings are lighter grayish-brown, darkening toward the edges. They have a wingspan of 16-20 mm. The front wings feature a fringe of hairs, and their thin antennae have multiple segments with tiny hairs on each segment.

Feeding and Damage

Once the False Codling Moth larvae hatch from their eggs, they burrow into the rind of the fruit. This burrowing action causes discoloration at the point of entry. Inside the fruit, they feed on the pulp, leading to premature ripening and fruit drop. Young larvae primarily consume the outer portion of the fruit, while older larvae penetrate deeper.

The open cavities created by their feeding provide entry points for other pests and pathogens. Although the larvae prefer the navel end of citrus fruits, they can burrow anywhere on the fruit, leaving excrement around the openings. Typically, only a few larvae can survive within a single fruit.

Management and Control

Controlling the False Codling Moth requires various approaches, including chemical and biological methods, as well as implementing certain control practices.

Chemical Control

To combat the rapid development of resistance in the moths, it is essential to alternate between multiple chemicals. The following insecticides have been found effective in controlling the False Codling Moth:

  • LEXUS 247SC: Mix 8ml with 20l of water.
  • KINGCODE ELITE 50EC: Mix 10ml with 20l of water.
  • PRESENTO 200SP: Mix 5ml with 20l of water.
  • PROFILE 440EC: Mix 30ml with 20l of water.
  • SINOPHATE 750SP: Mix 20g with 20l of water.
  • ESCORT 19EC: Mix 10ml with 20l of water.
  • LEGACY 50EC: Mix 15ml with 20l of water.
  • PENTAGON 50EC: Mix 10ml with 20l of water.
  • TRUMPET 200SC: Mix 20ml with 20l of water.

Biological Control

Using BACIGUARD 16WDG, a biological insecticide, can effectively control the False Codling Moth. This product contains bacteria strains of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which multiply on the moth’s body and ultimately eliminate it. For optimal results, it is advisable to mix this insecticide with INTEGRA, a product that acts as a sticker, spreader, and penetrant, enhancing the efficacy of the applied insecticide.

Other Control Practices

Aside from chemical and biological control methods, implementing the following practices can contribute to managing the False Codling Moth:

  • Maintenance of field hygiene
  • Planting resistant varieties
  • Proper weed control
  • Crop rotation

Conclusion

The False Codling Moth poses a significant challenge to the citrus industry due to its destructive feeding habits. By understanding its life cycle, identification features, and implementing effective management and control strategies, citrus growers can mitigate the negative impact of this moth on their crops.

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