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Species Page

Oriental fruit moth

Grapholita molesta
This information is part of a full datasheet available in the Crop Protection Compendium (CPC);www.cabi.org/cpc. For information on how to access the CPC, click here.

Distribution

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Host plants / species affected

Main hosts

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Prunus armeniaca (apricot)
Prunus persica (peach)
Prunus persica var. nucipersica (nectarine)

List of symptoms / signs

Fruit - external feeding
Fruit - gummosis
Fruit - internal feeding
Leaves - wilting
Stems - dieback
Stems - internal feeding
Stems - wilt
Whole plant - distortion; rosetting

Symptoms

G. molesta causes damage of varying importance on peaches, nectarines and apricots. The larvae of the first generation are mostly found in buds and shoots of peaches, but occasionally also on shoots of apricots, plums, almonds, cherries, apples, pears and quinces. In young trees when terminal twigs are attacked, several lateral shoots will appear below them and grow rapidly. Under severe and continued attack, the tree may become somewhat bushy. Severe attacks on the rapidly growing shoots of recently budded peaches result in crooked stems.

In harvested peaches there are two distinct types of injury. One is caused by larvae that have abandoned the twigs, feeding on, or entering into, the side of the fruit early in the season when the fruit is small. It is frequently called 'old injury'. The second type of damage is caused by entrance at the stem, called 'new injury', and occurs when the fruit is almost fully grown. This injury is caused by newly hatched larvae that go directly to the fruit. The surface indications of the presence of maggots in the fruit are frequently obscure and occasionally lacking, and only a small part of such injured fruit can be detected during grading. The loss sustained by growers from this type of injury is in reduced prices for their fruit (USDA, 1958). In France, this pattern of injury is characteristically seen on nectarines. On downy-skinned peaches, the reverse may be seen (early attacks at the stalk, later attacks at the side of the fruit). G. molesta damage also favours brown-rot infection (Monilinia spp.). Fruits of other species are also occasionally attacked in the vicinity of peach orchards.

Prevention and control

Cultural Control

Removing pruned material, as well as post-harvest fruits left on the tree and on the ground, can reduce the impact of G. molesta on orchards.

Chemical Control

Due to the variable regulations around (de-)registration of pesticides, we are for the moment not including any specific chemical control recommendations. For further information, we recommend you visit the following resources:

Impact

G. molesta is a serious pest of economic importance of commercial stone and pome fruits around the world. G. molesta damages peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries, apricots, apples, pears, quinces and nashi (Asian pears) and can also attack and cause economic damage on other commercial fruits. In severe attacks, young trees can suffer distortion of growing shoots and stems, which makes pruning, training and shaping the tree canopy difficult, particularly for close-planting industrial systems such as Tatura trellis. One larva can damage many shoots by tunnelling deep into young shoot tips. Larvae move to feed on the green fruits usually after shoots mature and harden. One larva can damage many fruits, particularly when fruits are located close to each other.
 
In general, later maturing fruit varieties are more heavily damaged than early ones, as the populations build up during the growing season. Therefore, even relatively low populations of G. molesta can cause a severe economic damage (Rothschild and Vickers, 1991). Attacks on fruits considerably reduce their quality and their market value. Initial G. molesta fruit damage also attracts secondary pests, such as nitidulid beetles (Carpophilus spp.), which act as vectors of  brown rot (Monilinia spp.) fungal infection (Hossain et al., 2006).