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False codling moth

Thaumatotibia leucotreta

Valskodlingmot (Afr.)

Heavy infestations can result in significant yield loss of citrus and stonefruits.

An inconspicuous small moth species which is a common pest species on 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.


-Eggs are in the shape of inverted saucers. Initially they are translucent, but darken to red to black before hatching. Only 1 mm in diameter. -Larvae are 1 mm in length and creamy white with dark brown to black heads. Mature larvae are pink in colour and become 15 mm in length. -Pupae are dark brown and 10 mm long, found in silken cocoons formed from soil particles and debris. Pupation usually occurs in the top layer of soils. -Adult moths are 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.
Citrus fruits: The peel around the penetrated hole in young, green citrus fruit gets a yellow colour. On ripe fruit, this area is initially orange, but will darken as the damaged tissue decays. The hole is enlarged by mature larvae which leave the fruit to pupate.


Originally described from Pretoria, South Africa. Endemic to Africa, found throughout the sub-Saharan Africa and the neighbouring islands of the Atlantic and Indian oceans. Confined to all citrus production areas of southern Africa.

Biological treatment

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. 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.

Chemical treatment

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

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