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Apple and pear trees are a floral delight in early spring. Many varieties of apples have pretty pink buds that open to beautiful white-petalled bee-attracting flowers, and pear trees are covered in a cloud of crisp white delicate blooms.
But spring flowers are also the trigger for implementing codling moth control measures. As soon as the petals start to fall, it’s time to act to prevent the number 1 pest for apple and pears.
Codling moths are small greyish-brown moths that lay their eggs during spring, onto leaves of apple and pear trees, usually near the fruit. The grub of the codling moth tunnels into the fruit, either on the side of the fruit or where the stem emerges. There might be a tell-tale lump of ‘frass’ (a collection of grub droppings on the skin) or if the grub has entered near the stem and eaten into the core there may not be any sign at all, until you cut open the fruit and there’s a grub inside.
Yates Success Ultra Insect Control Concentrate, which is derived from beneficial soil bacteria, is a very effective way to prevent the codling moth grub from damaging the fruit.
Start spraying apple and pear trees every 14 days, from petal fall. There can be several generations of codling moth between flowering and harvest, hence the need for regular ongoing spraying. Read the Yates Success Ultra Insect Control Concentrate label for full use directions.
For an alternative mechanical control method, you can tightly wrap corrugated cardboard bands around the branches and tree trunk. Around autumn when the grubs have finished feeding, they head down the trunk to find a hiding place to build a cocoon. During this migrating period, they can be tricked into cocooning inside the corrugated cardboard, which you remove and destroy at the beginning of winter. This will partly reduce the number of moths for next season, but that's the best you'll be able to to expect using this method. It certainly won’t help with grubs already inside an apple this harvest!
Picking up all fallen fruit is critically important to deny homes to the overwintering pupae.