How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Oriental fruit moth—Grapholita molesta

Oriental fruit moth larvae are white or pink with a brown head; they grow up to 0.63 inch long. They do not produce webbing, distinguishing them from other caterpillars. Adults are small, grayish moths almost 0.5 inch long.

Identification of species | Life cycle


Larvae bore into twigs and young shoots and into the center of green and ripening fruit or nuts to feed around the pit. Shoots wilt and die back 1 to several inches from the tip, causing shoot strikes or flagging.


In backyards, oriental fruit moths are hard to control. There are no effective biological control agents, and dormant oil sprays do not work. Insecticides are very difficult to time effectively because caterpillars rapidly bore into hidden locations. Pheromone traps can help you determine when moths are flying and laying eggs. No treatment is recommended for almonds or apricots.

Oriental fruit moth larva
Oriental fruit moth larva

Damage to fruitDamage to fruit

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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