False Codling Moth

Citrus and avocado trees are popular in home gardens – but if yours aren’t doing as well as they should, there’s a good chance you may have a False codling moth infestation.


The False codling moth (FCM) is a quarantine status pest of citrus fruit, macadamias, avocados, stone fruit, peppers and other crops in sub-Saharan Africa. That means that the detection of a single larva in fruit marked for export could result in the entire consignment being rejected. While home gardeners may not be concerned about exports, it remains important to manage these pests and help to prevent their spread and the damage they can cause.

These small grey, nocturnal moths lay their eggs on the surface of the fruit. Once hatched, the larvae penetrate the fruit, leaving holes that can be hard to spot, especially early on. The larvae eat on the fruit, causing damage and leaving grainy excreta as they go. They exit from the same hole before falling to the ground and pupating in the soil – emerging as a moth ready to start the cycle all over again.

Managing FCM through science and nature

Fortunately, these pests can be managed with the help of sustainable products that target specific pests and don’t leave any residue on the surface of the fruit.

Male moths find potential mates by following the trail of a pheromone scent emitted by the female of the same species. Incredibly,a male False codling moth can sense the pheromone released by a female from as far as 1225m away, using a specialised gland on the hind wing.

Insect Science’s PheroLure®️ range uses pheromones to mimic this natural process, attracting targeted male insect pests and trapping them before they can mate and start a new generation.

In this way, the Insect Science® F.C.M. PheroLure®️, used with the Yellow Delta Trap® provides an easy and sustainable approach to managing False codling moth on your fruit trees and in gardens.

Advantages of using pheromones


  • Target specific pests, thus safeguarding beneficial predators and parasitoids that limit the presence of pests
  • Quick and easy to use
  • Does not leave marks or residues on the fruit
  • Has a cumulative effect if used repeatedly over time
  • Can be used as part of a sustainable, responsible pest management strategy
  • The target pest does not develop immunity or resistance to the product
  • Application is required only once a year (the F.C.M. PheroLure® needs to be replaced every 28 to 30 weeks, which is sufficient for the FCM season). In South Africa, False codling moth are at their height in the hot November and December months and start to slow down as winter sets in.

Responsible pest management

If False codling moth is a problem in your garden, the Insect Science® Home and Garden range is available to help homeowners across South Africa to sustainably monitor and manage a wide range of both home and garden insect pests. The products are easy to use and the perfect addition to a responsible pest management programme.

Insect Science® has spent years researching and developing products that help farmers – and now gardeners and home owners – to manage insect pests using nature’s ways. The Home and Garden range includes a Fruit fly ToolkitTM, which uses the E.G.O. PheroLure® to attract and trap Fruit flies; blue and yellow sticky cards, which make use of specific colours to attract pests such as Aphids, Leaf hoppers, Leafminers and Whiteflies; sticky traps for flying and food storage pests; and even a pleasant-smelling glue remover that removes all kinds of sticky residues. The range is available online at www.shop.insectscience.co.za and other online stores, as well as in major nurseries and retail stores.

Find out more about False codling moth (FCM) on the Insect Science® website, or visit https://shop.insectscience.co.za/ to see the complete range of Home and Garden products.

The Gardener