View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:10 am

This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 4 posts ] 
 Coddling moth? 
Author Message

Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2006 11:25 am
Posts: 2
Location: NW Oregon
Post Coddling moth?
Hello and greetings from a newbie.

Five years ago we bought a little bit of acreage in the Oregon Coast Range foothills. We are about 25 miles West of Portland. The property had an old Italian plum orchard and two very large old apples. The apples trees had been in place at least 60-70 years. While the apples (variety unknown) were good and tasty, they were just riddled with coddling moth. The plums were not harmed.

We used sprays to control the worst of the problem and planted some newer trees the third year. Last fall we noticed one of the older apple trees had a limb broken off and the center was hollow. Upon further inspection we realized the entire tree was hollow and filled with, what looked like coddling moth larvae. We removed the tree, pulled the stump. The damage went well down into the stump itself. We burned the tree and the stump.

We investigated the second older tree and had to remove only two limbs that showed similar, but far less extensive damage.

My questions to you:

Is that hollowing damage typical of coddling moth, or are we dealing with something else? I would like to know exactly what I am dealing with before planting any new trees. Perhaps I can find varieties that will be resistant to whatever this insect is. Right now, we believe it was coddling moth and hope that the worst is over.

We are also hoping that by removing the "host" tree, we will cut down on the extent of future damage as well as the need for heavy spraying.

Any help you can send my way would be appreciated.

Thank you for your time,


Sun Jan 15, 2006 12:32 pm

Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1188
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Kaelha; we could be Neighbors?

You say: "The property had an old Italian plum orchard and two very large old apples. The apples trees had been in place at least 60-70 years."

Over 20 years ago I inherited about the same thing ... If such trees aren't pruned regularly, they become monsters, big and 'leggy.' Storm damage will usually allow the introduction of rot and accompanying organisms; over time many an old apple tree will develop such hollow interiors. My favorite, and oldest, Gravenstein Apple tree has just such a cavity - in fact, a Douglas Squirrel is calling it home! But as long as the balance between the root structure and the canopy remain, such holes seem merely a structural impediment, and the trees can live on for decades.

I've researched online a bit regarding the Codling Moth life cycle and damage; I don't think they are responsible for your hollowed trees. Heres the site that described the following: {info on "CODLING MOTH CONTROL"}

[Codling Moth] "Eggs will hatch larva worms which will feed on apples; once they have gone through their growth they will leave the apple to spin a cocoon in which to change to an adult and then emerge to mate and reproduce."

---My guess (and experience) is much of that tunneling work was done by (our own) Pacific Flathead Borer. I've got books that describe it pretty well, ...but here's some of what (little) I found online:

"Larvae are legless, cream to yellowish-white in colour, and have robust head capsules with well developed mandibles and a dorsal plate-like disc. The body is tapered and is half the width of the head capsule. From: ... m#Flathead"

---That's a fair description of the ugly things; here's some more info:

The following is from: [slightly edited]

"Another important production concern for organic or low-spray apple growers is borer control. There are two species of flatheaded borers that may invade apple trees. Chrysobothris femorata is the species endemic to the East. On the Pacific coast, C. mali fills a similar niche. Adults emerge from woodland trees in late April through early May, and begin laying eggs beneath bark scales on the tree. The graft union is a favorite place for egg deposition."

"Upon hatching, the larvae burrow under the bark and feed on the cambium—the layer of tissue just underneath the bark. Development is usually completed in one year, but sometimes two years are required. Maintaining trees in good vigor is important first-line protection from flatheaded borers, since a tree in good vigor will be able to drown an invading larva with sap. Drought-stressed trees are much more susceptible to borers; therefore, adequate water is essential." "...with the flatheaded borer, keeping the tree in good vigor is the first line of defense."

"Painting exposed burr knots with interior white latex paint is also helpful." "For all species of borers, the larvae can be removed from the trunk with a jackknife or piece of wire. Look for signs of borer damage, such as frass mixed with sawdust, at the base of the tree and at the pest's entry hole." "Perhaps the best non-chemical protection from all species of borers is to wrap the bottom 12-18 inches of the trunk in window screen (metal, fiberglass, or nylon are all effective). Secure the top with a twist-tie, being certain to loosen and re-tie at least once a year. The bottom should be snug against the ground or also secured with a twist-tie. Painting trunks with interior white latex also helps reduce borer attack."

- And this: "Pacific flathead borer: About 0.4 inch long with a dark bronze body and coppery spots on wing covers. Larva is light colored with a prominent flat enlargement just behind the head. Damage: Holes in trunk. Control: Paint trunk." --- From: ... ad%20borer

--- I've lost young trees to these borers, and I assume they, along with carpenter ants, may be responsible for tunneling out the decaying interior of various damaged fruit trees. But there's no tree I 'wouldn't plant' for fear of their attack. For years I've painted my tree trunks with white (interior) latex paint - everyone loves the look! I figure if their first bite is a mouthful of latex, they might head back into the hills!

PS; I'm just south of Gaston, also in the "Coast Range foothills."

Temperate Orchard Convservancy:

Mon Jan 16, 2006 10:19 am

Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2006 11:25 am
Posts: 2
Location: NW Oregon
Thanks for the quick reply Viron.

Thanks for the link. I wasn't able to open one page, but the others were helpful. I agree that it is most likely Pacific Flathead Borer. Ugh! lol. I will get some housepaint (white exterior latex?) and make those trees look pretty lol.

The tree that we took down was hollow all through, we are surprised it stood as long as it did. I am sure the bugs had several years to do the damage they did.

We are neighbors. I live towards Buxton at about 1250 ft. We tend to get a bit of snow whenever the snow levels drop. We have lived here five years and have had up to 26 inches. Some neighbors who have lived here since 1940 talk about snows up four feet!

I am fairly adept at flower and vegetable gardening, but orchard fruit is new to me. I am not really interested in selling fruit, just a small but varied orchard for home use. I love to can and make my own jams, jellies and sauces.

I am still trying to find varieties that will do well in my area. My biggest problems are deer, elk, raccoons, and the evil borers.

In regards to the painting of the trunks, should I do this now? Is there a better time? It supposed to be fairly dry today and tomorrow (hahahaha)

Thanks for your help

Sun Jan 22, 2006 11:53 am

Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1188
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon

"I will get some housepaint (white exterior latex?)..."

I seen it confirmed within the info I'd found -IN-terior white latex paint - not EX-terior. I can't remember why...? I think the exterior stuff is just too tuff, whereas the interior paint is more 'forgiving?' Anyway, it lasts for years, and as long as it dries good, I wouldn't have known the difference on my trees.

"In regards to the painting of the trunks, should I do this now? Is there a better time?"

I wouldn't be in any great hurry, and writting off-line right now, I can't glance at the lifecycle info on those borers...

It's exciting to notice, over the years, the expansion of this paint as the trees grow! I paint them about 3 feet up the trunk, occationally following out any lower branches. I've done it 3 times in the last 20-something years of living out here, in fact - they're probably due.

Another benefit of this white painted section (I paint mine from the 'dirt' up) is how well you can see the inevitable trail of ants as the seasons progress .... They're always up to no good - but the latex paint is a perfect 'base' to apply something like "Tangelfoot" around the trunk to stop them - then "lol" at them! Just make sure there's no tall grass or associated 'brush' touching them or those ants will use it instead...

Regarding the hollowed out trees, I'd read an old book that suggested (with photos) putting concrete inside the holes to reinforce the tree! They'd run through-bolts and cables to support limbs ... the book was on grafting, so that was used too. What I've done to my prized Gravenstein apple tree (with it's hollow trunk) is to graft a piece of 'it' onto a rootsucker from the very same tree. The main tree is leaning (propped up with a solid block of concrete) so this 'new version of it' gets a bit more sun, but it's 'my way' of seeing that this tree, planted by my Great Grandfather, lives on 'forever.'

"Buxton" - Funny, I had to look it up! Out the Sunset... That's quite an elevation, we're (our house) at 350 feet, but will 'get' snow - due to our proximity to the Coast Range - whenever it's down to 1,000 feet. I / we too do the canning, juice, and jelly making... I was the oldest of four, and the one that, after hours of preparation, 'got' to sit on a tall wooden stool watching several pressure cookers while everyone (parents included) went to bed... Salmon was the worst! Not only did it begin to 'smell fishy' (stink), it had to be processed high, and long... My Dad later told me he had me use that stool in case I fell asleep - I'd fall off (and not blow up a canner!), and, how he knew I had the ability to stay with the job... It's amazing -after all that - I can anything?!

As I tend to ramble on around here ... I'm gonna try to attach one of those tag-lines that includes the best link to a USDA Climate Map. I've 'played around' with it some and found it to be very accurate - using Zip Codes! Any more questions, comments, or observations - let me know - Neighbor :) !

Temperate Orchard Convservancy:

Sun Jan 22, 2006 1:10 pm
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.   [ 4 posts ] 

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to: