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Eyespotted Bud Moth

The eyespotted budmoth feeds on apple, pear and all stone fruits, as well as on deciduous trees such as hawthorn, oak, beech, larch, and alder. It prefers rosaceous plants.

Eyespotted Bud Moth

Eyespotted Bud Moth

Eyespotted bud moth has become an important pest in organic apple orchards in coastal areas but is not a problem in the interior valleys. Larvae are dull brown caterpillars with a shiny black head. Adult moths are gray and similar in appearance to a codling moth but smaller and with a white band across the mid-section. In California, two generations per year have been observed. Adults of the overwintering generation appear in May and lay eggs, which hatch in late June and July.

Larvae feed on leaves and the surface of fruits throughout summer. The summer generation adults emerge in September and October. It is believed that the larvae produced by the summer generation overwinter in hibernacula. These larvae emerge in late winter, pupate in spring, and emerge as adults in May. The life cycle and damage from eyespotted budmoth is similar to the apple pandemis moth, and they may co-exist in the same orchard.

Life cycle:The egg is oval, flattened, and is a translucent, creamy white.The body is a dull chocolate brown, while the head and thoracic shield are shiny dark brown to black. When full grown the larva is 3/4 to 1 inch (18 to 25 mm) long. The pupa is golden brown and resembles a leafroller pupa.The adult moth is marked by large gray and white areas on the wings. When at rest, it has a broad white band across the middle of the wing, while the front and rear are gray. The eyespotted budmoth has only one generation per year. It overwinters as a partially grown larva within a hibernaculum in crotches of small diameter wood. Larvae become active in spring as buds begin to show green tissue. The young larva first burrows into a bud, feeding on the leaf and flower parts. Later in the spring, the larva forms a tubular feeding nest by webbing together several leaves and flower parts of a spur or growing tip.

The nest may contain one or more dying or dead leaves produced by the larva partially severing the petioles of leaves in the cluster. The first larvae are full grown by late May or early June. When mature, they pupate within the feeding nest. The pupal stage lasts 10 to 15 days. Adults begin to emerge in mid- to late June, with the flight continuing into July. Eggs are laid singly, usually on the lower surfaces of leaves, and incubation takes 7 to 14 days. Larvae begin feeding on lower leaf surfaces, constructing feeding sites near the midribs. The sites are covered by silken webs strewn with frass. Leaves touching one another or a leaf touching an apple are also desirable feeding sites. Development continues until larvae are half grown, usually by late July or early August, when they leave feeding sites and construct hibernacula. The larvae incorporate bits of frass and plant parts into the hibernacula so that after some weathering they appear similar to the bark and are inconspicuous.

Damage:Feeding by larvae on buds and blossoms in early spring is not a problem unless populations are very high. Boring of larvae into growing shoots can be serious in young trees or nursery stock where it results in restricted growth or abnormal tree form. Larval feeding on fruit is most important. Feeding on fruit by mature larvae just after bloom results in damage similar to that caused by early season leafroller feeding. Feeding on fruit by young larvae in mid- to late summer results in a cluster of tiny, circular excavations in the fruit. These excavations are not deep and are usually separated from each other. They can look very similar to damage caused by young leafroller larvae in midsummer.

Eyespotted Bud Moth

Eyespotted Bud Moth

Control:Overwintered larvae can easily be found by examining foliage prebloom. The tubular feeding nests resemble those made by leafrollers. While monitoring orchards in July and August, watch for leaves attached to the side of apples. The color of the eyespotted budmoth larva helps distinguish it from leafrollers that might be there at the same time. Adult activity can be monitored with a pheromone trap.Several species of parasitic wasps have been reported to attack larvae of the eyespotted budmoth in unsprayed habitats. It is unclear how effective natural enemies would be in a commercial orchard. The best time to suppress eyespotted budmoth is before bloom. Treatments targeted at overwintering leafroller larvae will also control larvae of the eyespotted budmoth.

This insect is relatively easy to control with conventional neurotoxic insecticides used in orchards to control other pests, which explains why it is seldom reported as a significant pest.yespotted bud moth is primarily a pest in organic apple orchards where pheromone mating disruption for codling moth control is used. In conventional orchards, synthetic pesticides applied for other pests easily control eyespotted budmoth. This insect has become a pest in organic apple orchards only in recent years, and effective control measures are still being evaluated. Monitor eyespotted bud moth flights with pheromone traps, which should be placed in the orchard by May 1. Maintain traps through the growing season. Treatments may be warranted in organic apple orchards.

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