Texas Invasive Species Institute

Texas Invasive Species Institute

Oriental Fruit Moth

Grapholita molesta

Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Tortricidae

Grapholita molesta

Photographer: Todd M. Gilligan and Marc E. Epstein Affiliation:USDA APHIS ITP Source:www.bugwood.org Copyright: CC BY-NC 3.0


Adult Description: Adult oriental fruit moths measure .4 inches long. Forewings dark gray-brown, with a wingspan 11-15. Hind-wings lighter, brown-gray. These moths normally fly in the evenings just after sunset, or occasionally between daybreak and sunrise.

Larvae Description: Caterpillars are .5 inches in length. They are white with a black head when first hatched, and as they mature, they gradually turn pink with a brown head. Pupa are brown, with 2 rows of spines on abdominal tergites and 10-18 spinules at abdominal apex.

Host Plant: Preferred host are peach trees. But also attack apple, pear, plum, apricot, cherry and almonds. However, it has been documented that this species can damage over 80 different cultures.

Ecological Threat

The larvae damage the fruits and young shoots of host plants. They generally enter the fruit at the stem end, although entry can be made anywhere on the fruit. Larvae immediately bore to the center of the fruit and feed around the pit. After reaching maturity, they exit from the fruit and pupate. Yield losses reach 30-40% in many areas, sometimes 50-60%. The damage rate depends on terms of ripening. The greatest harm is recorded in areas of joint growth of peach and apple or pear.


Females lay eggs one by one on the surface of leaves at the top of young shoot and later on the surface of fruits. The eggs are flattened and white that later gain an orange tint. Eggs develop over 6-12 days in spring, 3-6 days in summer, and 5-16 days in autumn. Caterpillars penetrate into young shoots through top bud. On apple they mine leaves at first. In shoots the caterpillar mine 11 cm deep to ligneous tissue. They damage fruits from the moment of ovary formation, where they make cavities, filling them with frass (excrements). The period of caterpillar development varies on which fruit is the host; 9-12 days on peach, 16-24 days on apple. Diapausing caterpillars of last instar winter in dense silky cocoons. Average duration of development of the pupae is 3-11 days. In the Northeastern United States there are 3 generations but in California there can be up to 5 generations a year.


Grapholita molesta was first reported in the USA in 1913 from infested nursery stock imprted from Japan; and it rapidly spread throughout the country. Today, the only commercial peach-growing area of North America which is free of the pest is the province of British Columbia.

Native Origin

China, Korea and Japan

Current Location

U.S. Habitat: Anywhere the host plant are present

U.S. Present: Country-wide; especially in peach-producing states.

View a map provided by CAPS/CERIS/USDA of distribution, survey and eradication efforts here


The larvae can resemble the Codling Moth larvae because they can also be found feeding within apples, and become pinkish in coloration.


More than 130 species of parasitoids have been reported attacking Oriental Fruit Moth; however, parasitism probably plays a very minor role in OFM control in today's commercial orchards because of the sensitivity of many parasitoids to commonly used insecticides. Other biological methods that have works are setting up pheromone traps to survey; and using mating disruption to prevent reproduction. Mechanical methods of controlling this moth can be de-shooting and burning of damaged shoots, use of trapping bands and cleaning of trunks from old bark, gathering and destruction of fruit drop. These moths do respond to repeated treatments with insecticides from the start of flowering.


Text References

Dickson, R. C. 1949. Factors governing the induction of diapause in the oriental fruit moth. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 42(4), 511-537.

Lu, P. F., Qiao, H. L., Xu, Z. C., Cheng, J., Zong, S. X., & Luo, Y. Q. 2014. Comparative analysis of peach and pear fruit volatiles attractive to the oriental fruit moth, Cydia molesta. Journal of Plant Interactions, 9(1), 388-395.

NAJAR‐RODRIGUEZ, A., Bellutti, N., & Dorn, S. 2013. Larval performance of the oriental fruit moth across fruits from primary and secondary hosts. Physiological Entomology, 38(1), 63-70.

Reinke, M. D., et al. 2014. "Pheromone release rate determines whether sexual communication of Oriental fruit moth is disrupted competitively vs. non‐competitively." Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 150.1: 1-6.

Rothschild, G. H. L., & Vickers, R. A. 1991. Biology, ecology and control of the oriental fruit moth. Tortricid pests: their biology, natural enemies and control, 5, 389-412.

Internet Sources





< Back to Inventory